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Virginia congressman calls for delay in electoral college vote

Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.). (Brittany Greeson/The Washington Post)

Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) is calling on fellow members of Congress to delay a Dec. 19 electoral college vote because of reports about foreign interference in the presidential election aimed at helping elect Republican Donald Trump.

“Recent, credible intelligence reports suggest a concerted effort by a foreign power to interfere in the outcome” of the election, Beyer, a liberal Democrat, said in a statement posted to Twitter at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.

“I believe that Electors should be given all information relevant to this interference before they make their decisions and before they cast their votes,” he tweeted.

"Congress must take whatever action is necessary to protect the integrity of our democracy. I call on the leaders of Congress to delay the date of the vote for the Electoral College until an intelligence briefing has been given to each Elector."

A growing number of electors have signed an online letter requesting a briefing from U.S. intelligence agencies about the alleged interference in the election by Russia before they vote.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid also called for an intelligence briefing for electors Tuesday evening.

What you need to know about CIA assessment of Russian hacking

Beyer said in a midday telephone interview that his call "mirrors closely" what Reid said, although he did not coordinate or notify other members of Congress of his call for a delay. "With due respect to the leadership, I nevertheless had a responsibility to speak out," Beyer said. "There's no such thing as a small voice." Briefing electors would only delay the electoral college vote a few days, Beyer said.

“If we don’t act early, and soon, we run the risk of having an illegitimate president,” the freshman lawmaker said. “That’s not good for Donald Trump and not good for America.”

With criticism flying about the electoral college, here's what you need to know about our system for electing the president. (Video: Jenny Starrs/The Washington Post)

Beyer, who was elected to his second term in November with 71 percent of the vote, represents the liberal enclave of Alexandria, Falls Church, Arlington and part of Fairfax County. He strongly backed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton for president, as did about 75 percent of voters in his district, but Beyer said his call is not about overturning the results.

“Let the electors see the appropriate evidence, and then vote,” he said. “I personally have no proof there was interference by the Russians ... but given the CIA’s well-considered report, the electors should see it.”