GOP lawmakers are set to challenge states' Electoral College votes in a last-ditch attempt to overturn Trump's election defeat
AP Photo / Patrick Semansky
Some House Republicans are planning a formal challenge to electoral college victory for President-elect Joe Biden in at least one, but possibly more, states, Axios and Politico reported Monday.
Vice President Mike Pence, who serves as Senate President, will chair a joint session of the new 117th Congress on January 6th to officially approve the candidate lists for each state.
At least one member of the House and one member of the Senate must both act to challenge a state's voters in writing. Georgia MP Jody Hice tweeted that he would challenge Georgian voters.
At that point, both houses of Congress would leave the joint session to debate separately and vote on whether to accept or reject the state's voters.
However, the effort is unlikely to be successful or well beyond delaying the process by a few hours, as both houses would have to vote by simple majority to reject one state's voters and Trump would have to reject multiple states to change the election result .
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President Donald Trump and a number of House lawmakers are planning another final attempt to scrap the 2020 presidential election results by directly questioning the state's electoral roll in Congress, which, most likely, will not undo the loss of the president.
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Politico and Axios reported that a number of Conservative White House Republicans, along with a number of White House attorneys and Vice President Mike Pence, met in the White House on Monday to discuss their plan against at least one, but possibly multiple, state objection to insert voters.
Legislators in attendance included Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama, Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona, Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, Rep. Jody Hice and elected Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, and Rep. Scott Perry from Pennsylvania and Rep. Louie Gohmert from Texas, according to Politico.
Trump and his allies lost more than 40 legal challenges in the weeks following the election to undermine or reverse the 2020 election results, and spread unsubstantiated claims of widespread election and election fraud.
Trump's allies also failed to successfully pressure state election officials to delay the confirmation of election results, as well as failing to force Republican lawmakers in states that voted for President-elect Joe Biden to appoint separate electoral rolls to Forcing Congress to vote which one to accept.
On Monday, December 14th, various voters in all 50 states and the District of Columbia met to officially cast their votes for the president and vice president. This re-affirmed Biden's victory with 306 votes versus 232 for Trump and closed many of the outstanding and potential legal challenges to the election results.
After the Monday meeting, Hice tweeted that he would "raise" an objection to Georgia's 16 presidential elections for Biden.
Trump and his allies have continued to unfounded allegations that the Georgia election was fraught with fraud and irregularities, even after a risk-limiting review that involved handing out all 5 million presidential ballots and then requesting the Trump campaign to confirm Biden's victory.
Vice President Joe Biden shows Ohio Representative College Speaker John Boehner in the House Chamber during the vote count on Capitol Hill in Washington on Friday, January 4, 2013, the Certificate of Election College Election for Ohio.
Legislators who question a state's electoral votes are very unlikely to succeed
Although all 538 presidential elections-designate voted as early as December, the full legal process to appoint Biden as president is still ongoing.
On January 6, 2021, Pence, in his capacity as President of the Senate, will chair a joint session of the 117th Congress, which will be sworn in on January 3, to officially confirm the results at the federal level. A cashier reads the votes cast by voters in each of 50 states and Washington, DC in alphabetical order to finalize the number of votes.
If no members object to a state's electorate, that state's electoral roll is accepted.
The Electoral Count Act of 1887 sets the process and guidelines for members of Congress to challenge a state's voters, and critically requires that at least one legislature from each chamber must raise a challenge for the panel to accept.
The group of Republican officials who want to challenge Biden voters needs a member of the US Senate who also speaks out in writing against an objection to the votes of a state's electoral college. At that point, both houses of Congress, the Senate and the House of Representatives, would split up separately to debate and vote on whether to accept or reject the voters.
At least one Senate Republican, Senator-elect Tommy Tuberville of Alabama, has indicated that he could join a challenge for a state's electorate. However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell warned his GOP colleagues not to do so on a private phone call, Axios and Politico reported last week.
Legislators cannot challenge all votes cast across the country or for a specific candidate. If they want to challenge voters in multiple states, as Brooks suggested, they have to challenge each state individually. The President of the Senate must count the electoral roll in alphabetical order and can only continue counting after a contestation of the votes of a state has been completely resolved.
The ECA text states that if those votes are not "regularly" cast, chambers of Congress can vote to reject a state list of electoral votes that have been "legitimately confirmed" by a state governor, according to the National Electoral Crisis Task Force. It is pointed out that the language of the ECA does not state what it would mean if votes were not cast "regularly".
According to the Congressional Research Service, both chambers would have to vote with a simple majority of over 50% to reject the presidential elections of a particular state.
Democrats will keep a majority in the US House. The Senate will likely be tightly controlled by Republicans until there are two US Senate runoff elections in Georgia, held the day before January 5th. Hence, it is highly unlikely that Republicans will have the majority required to turn down a state's voters.
"I think what they need to remember is that it is not going anywhere. I mean, it would go down like a dog in the Senate," South Dakota-born John Thune told the GOP Senate majority whip on CNN.
Read more: EXCLUSIVE: Jared Kushner helped start a Trump campaign shell company that secretly paid the president's family members and spent $ 617 million on re-election money, a source told Insider
While members of Congress have legitimate legal recourse to challenge state voters in the Chamber, this process has only been used twice since the ECA came into effect in 1887.
The last time this scenario played out was in January 2005, when Ohio Democratic MP Stephanie Tubbs Jones and Senator Barbara Boxer joined Ohio across the state, citing widespread mismanagement of the 2004 election and disenfranchisement of voters the presidential election.
The Jones and Boxers challenge failed 74-1 in the Senate and 26731 in the US House, CNN reported at the time.
If the House and Senate Republicans challenge Georgia’s electoral votes to force a vote, it will likely only delay the process for a few hours and not really change the outcome. If the group challenges the voters of several states, the process could drag on until the next day, which the ECA provides.
Even in the unlikely event that both houses voted to reject Georgia's 16 Biden voters, Biden would still have 290 votes - still well above the 270 Electoral College electoral threshold as President.
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