How Congress Will Count the Electoral College Votes

How Objections Will Delay Electoral College Results Certification In Congress | NBC News NOW

How Congress Will Count the Electoral College Votes

Republicans in both houses of Congress intend to oppose approval of election results

A joint meeting of Congress to approve the results of the electoral vote is usually a routine ceremonial act. But President Donald Trump‘s repeated attempts to challenge Democrat Joe Biden’s victory will bring more attention than usual to the joint Senate-House meeting next Wednesday, January 6..

The counting of votes in Congress is the final step in confirming Biden’s victory after the Electoral College formally elected him on December 14. The procedure in Congress is required by the Constitution and includes several separate steps.

Some Republicans, who echo Trump’s unsubstantiated claims of fraud, have said they will formally object to the results, which could lead to a voting procedure in the Senate, where the majority belongs to Republicans, and in the House of Representatives, controlled by Democrats, which will almost certainly fail. A group of Republicans in the House of Representatives (according to the latest data, more than 140 congressmen intend to challenge the election results) were looking for a senator to sign, because for a forced vote there must be the support of at least one member of each house. Missouri Senator Josh Hawley, a possible candidate for the 2024 Republican primaries, provided that support on Wednesday..

Hawley’s problem arises despite Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s call for Republican Senators not to join the House’s futile efforts. McConnell told his congregation during a private conversation earlier this month that Senate Republicans will have to take this “terrible vote.”.

What happens when Congress meets in January?

Federal law requires Congress to meet on January 6 to open a sealed certificate from each state that contains a record of electoral votes. Certificates are made in mahogany boxes. Bipartisan representatives in both chambers read the results aloud and conduct an official count. Senate President, Vice President Mike Pence chairs the meeting and announces the winner.

What the Constitution Requires?

The constitution requires Congress to meet and count the electoral votes. In the event of a tie, the House of Representatives decides on the election of the President, with each Congress delegation having one vote. Such a procedure has not happened since the 1800s, and Biden’s victory in the election over Trump was convincing – 306-232.

Session progress

Both chambers meet at noon to count the votes. If the vice president cannot preside, there is a precedent for the pro-tempore senate or the longest-serving senator in the majority party to chair the meeting. This is currently Republican Senator Chuck Grassley from Iowa..

The presiding officer will open and present the state vote certificates in alphabetical order. Designated “enumerators” from each chamber, members of both parties, then read each testimony aloud. Counters record and count votes. The presiding officer announces who received the most votes for both the president and vice president.

What to do if there is an objection?

After the final count of the state’s votes is announced, any congressman can stand up and object to the vote of that state for any reason. But the presiding officer will respond to such an objection only if it is submitted in writing and signed by both a member of the House of Representatives and a member of the Senate..

If there is such a joint request, then the joint meeting is suspended, and the House of Representatives and the Senate meet in separate sessions to consider it. For an objection to be upheld, both houses must agree with it by a simple majority. If this does not happen, the initial electoral votes are counted..

Such an objection was last considered in 2005, when Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones of Ohio and Senator Barbara Boxer of California, both Democrats, objected to voting in the Ohio election, arguing that there were voting irregularities. Both Chambers discussed the objection and dismissed it. Such a vote was held only for the second time in history..

Can the Challenge Be Succeeded?

This is highly unlikely given that the House of Representatives is controlled by Democrats and that several Senate Republicans, including McConnell, have acknowledged Biden’s victory..

McConnell asked fellow Republican senators on December 15 not to join the House objection.

Several other reputable Republicans agreed with this. The second-oldest Republican in the Senate, South Dakota Senator John Thune, said earlier in December that if the Senate were forced to vote on the issue, he had no doubt that the election results would be recognized. Thune said there is no point in putting Senators to vote when “you know what the final outcome will be.”.

Republican Senator John Cornin of Texas said any such Republican effort in Congress would be “futile” and misguided.

There is no evidence of massive electoral fraud, as confirmed by a number of voting officials and William Barr, who stepped down as US attorney general last week..

What is the role of Pence?

The role of the vice president as presiding over the Senate is often awkward. For example, for Mike Pence, who will be tasked with declaring Biden’s victory – and his defeat – after the electoral votes are counted. This will be especially difficult for the former Indiana congressman because his boss Trump refused to admit defeat.

But he won’t be the first vice president to get into trouble. In 2001, Vice President Al Gore oversaw the vote count in the 2000 presidential election, when he narrowly lost to Republican George W. Bush. Gore was forced to abandon a number of Democratic objections. In 2016, Biden topped the tally that proclaimed Trump the winner. Biden also rejected objections by House Democrats, which did not receive Senate support..

Congress counted the votes, what’s next?

The joint meeting is the last formal opportunity for objections beyond the court cases that have so far proved ineffective for Trump and his team..

“I think there comes a point where you have to realize that despite your best efforts, you have failed,” Kornin said in December..

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