GOVERNMENT

‘Better Utah’ calls for Burgess Owens, Chris Stewart to resign after objecting to certify election

Jan 7, 2021, 1:18 PM | Updated: 1:22 pm
Stewart, Owens resign...
Rep. Chris Stewart and Rep. Burgess Owens are among 24 lawmakers to support the Securing Our Students Act. (Ravell Call, Deseret News)
(Ravell Call, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — A group of progressive advocates are calling on Utah Reps. Burgess Owens and Chris Stewart to resign after both Congressmen voted to object the electoral certification Wednesday night. 

Both Owens and Stewart joined 136 other House representatives in rejecting the certification in Pennsylvania, where President-elect Joe Biden won by more than 80,000 votes. After Congress certified the election results, Alliance for a Better Utah — a nonprofit organization seeking to hold politicians accountable — called for their resignation.  

“With their votes to overturn a free and fair election in Pennsylvania, Representatives Burgess Owens and Chris Stewart have proven just how low they’re willing to go in order to hold on to power,” said Chase Thomas, executive director for Alliance for a Better Utah, in a statement. “This is exactly the kind of behavior that resulted in the horrific attack on the Capitol and our nation yesterday, and our Representatives must face the reality that their incendiary words and actions are fueling the fire of violence and extremism.”

Several lawmakers say they won’t vote in favor of certification

Owens tweeted before Wednesday’s certification that he was “proud” to sign onto the statement rejecting the election results — joining several other GOP lawmakers who refused to accept the election results. 

“We owe it to the American people to protect the integrity of our electoral system,” he wrote. “Period.”

Stewart held similar sentiments, noting he could not vote to certify the election until ongoing concerns were resolved. 

“Until we have resolved the issues surrounding voting irregularities, ballot integrity and security, and the implementation of state election laws, I can not, in good conscience, uphold the oath I took to protect and defend our constitution by voting to certify the election,” Stewart tweeted Monday. 

Utah group calls for Owens, Stewart to resign 

The call for their resignations comes just one day after violent protests emerged outside the U.S. Capitol, seeking to halt the Electoral College vote count. After an emergency recess — initiated after security barriers were breached and protesters entered the building — Congress reconvened hours later to officially certify Mr. Biden as the presidential victor. 

Although Congress voted against electoral challenges in both Arizona and Pennsylvania, more than half of House Republicans voted to object — with 121 supporting the challenge in Arizona and 130 for Pennsylvania. Owens and Stewart were among those who voted in favor of the Pennsylvania objection. 

“Representatives Owens and Stewart have chosen to fight against democracy for the sake of their own political ambition, and they must accept the consequences of their actions,” Thomas said. “They can no longer be trusted to hold the sacred offices to which they were elected. They must resign immediately.”

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‘Better Utah’ calls for Burgess Owens, Chris Stewart to resign after objecting to certify election