By Cristina Marcos and Mike Lillis - 01-06-17 13:32 PM EST
Several House Democrats tried to raise objections as a joint session of Congress met to formally count the Electoral College results certifying Donald Trump's presidential election.Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) cited Russia's interference in the election and alleged voter suppression efforts as he raised the first Democratic objection to Trump's Electoral College victory.
Vice President Biden, who was presiding over the proceedings, ruled McGovern's objection out of order because it wasn't backed by a senator.
Any lawmaker can offer an objection during the Electoral College counting process, but it must be endorsed by a member of both the House and Senate.
Freshman Democratic Reps. Jamie Raskin (Md.) and Pramila Jayapal (Wash.) also tried to raise objections, but Biden cut them off. Reps. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) and Ra l Grijalva (D-Ariz.) attempted to voice protests as well.
As Jayapal tried to make her case, Biden cut in: "There is no debate, and if it's not signed by a senator the objection cannot be entertained."
Going off the official script, Biden then added, "It is over," sparking cheers and laughter from Republicans, including House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).
Three outside protesters yelling about "voter suppression" were removed from the chamber by Capitol Police.
But without objections from any Democratic senators, the process went swiftly and was over in under an hour, the final step in making Trump's White House win official.
The House chamber was mostly filled with Republicans on Friday. The Democratic side of the chamber was less than half full, and one section appeared to be filled entirely by Senate pages.
The congressional session to count the Electoral College votes is usually a routine affair. But this year it turned into a more contentious process - not unlike the Electoral College vote last month, when some liberal activists lobbied GOP electors to vote against Trump since he lost the popular vote.
Jackson Lee, one of the leaders of Friday's Democratic protest efforts, cited the closure of many early voting places in North Carolina and the absence of a Voting Rights Act provision that polices efforts to suppress minority votes as reasons for challenging the Electoral College result.
"The real question was about principles of democracy and the sacredness of the vote," Jackson Lee told reporters. "If in that voting, you have glaring matters that speak to the failure of the electoral system, then it should be challenged."She expressed disappointment that attempts to persuade Senate Democrats to join the effort were unsuccessful, but said other lawmakers who didn't join the Friday effort expressed sympathy.
"We worked pretty hard. If I say how hard, it will reflect poorly on the effort," Jackson Lee admitted. "But I'm not offended by the fact that we did not at this point get a senator. It's a complicated process, but I do know that we had individuals who were sympathetic."
Just hours earlier, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she supported the message the objectors hoped to send, even as she acknowledged the gesture would ultimately have no practical effect on the results of the election.
"It's not going to ... have an impact on the outcome of the election. So that's not the point," Pelosi said. "But I think that people don't want the day to pass without registering concern. ... In some cases, members are concerned about voter suppression, some cases they are concerned about Russian influence on our election. There are a number of concerns."
"But really, it's not going to have an impact at the end of the day," she added. "Donald Trump will be ... elected president of the United States by virtue of the Electoral College, and that's what will happen."
Pelosi sat a few feet away from the table where the unruly Democrats gathered during the joint session, but didn't join in or attempt to stop their efforts.
Trump received 304 Electoral College votes to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton's 227. Two Republican electors voted for someone other than Trump, while five Democratic electors refused to vote for Clinton.
Updated at 2:48 p.m.