Members of the Electoral College are meeting Monday to officially elect Joe Biden, a time some Republican lawmakers have targeted as the end of President Donald Trump’s attempts to overturn the results as far as they are concerned.
Constitutionally mandated process in all 50 states and the District of Columbia typically passes with little notice. But this year, it may help conclude a chaotic election season punctuated by Trump’s refusal to concede and his frequent, unproven insistence that the vote has been “rigged” against him.
Many prominent Republicans have joined the president in refusing to recognize Biden’s victory a month ago, saying Trump has the right to pursue legal action. This process will have taken place once voters reach a majority of 270 votes for Biden. Congress will then officially count the votes of the Electoral College and declare the winner on January 6.
Senator John Thune of South Dakota, House Republican No. 2,told reporterslast week the election will be “over” once the electoral college has voted.
“The Electoral College obviously brings a certain finality to this,” Thune said. And Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a close ally of Trump, said when asked if the president should concede: “I’ll speak to you on December 14.
Retired Republican Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday that the election should be concluded after Monday’s vote, and that he hopes Trump “puts the country first And congratulates Biden. But asked on “Fox News Sunday” if he would stop running for office after Monday, Rep. Steve Scalise, the Republican House Whip, did not say and insisted “let the court process unfold.”
Voters, usually chosen by their political parties, pledge to vote for the winner of the popular vote in each state. Biden won 306 electoral votes from 25 states and the District of Columbia. Trump captured 232 electoral votes in the 25 states he won.
Most voters gather in their state capitals with restricted access and social distancing due to the coronavirus pandemic. Arizona does not publicly disclose the location of its meeting to keep it “low key.”
Even though the outcome has been decided and more than 50 post-election lawsuits challenging the results of Trump and his allies’ campaign have been dismissed, the president and some of his supporters continue to say he won on the base unsubstantiated allegations of widespread fraud.
Trump said he would continue legal challenges even after the US Supreme Court on Friday rejected the offer by Texas to overturn election results in four pivotal states – a deal the president called “big.” But he admitted that time is running out.
“We’re going to speed up as much as possible, but you can’t go any faster. They leave us very little time, ”Trump said in an interview broadcast on Fox News Sunday. He added that he was “disappointed” before the Supreme Court of the United States, including three of the nine judges he had appointed, for not having had the “courage” to overturn the election.
The president hasRepublicans under pressurein Congress and at the state level to help him overthrow the election, including urging the state’s GOP legislative leaders to ignore the popular vote and nominate voters who rival Trump. They refused, saying they did not have this power.
Rick Bloomingdale, a voter for Biden, Pennsylvania, said he was convinced his vote would be counted and Trump’s efforts to annul the election would fail.
“At noon on January 20, Joe Biden will be president of the United States,” said Bloomingdale, president of the AFL-CIO of Pennsylvania. “It’s mind-boggling to me that we have people who are trying to steal a coup and withdraw the voters’ votes.
There were protests against Trump’s election outside of electoral college meetings in some states in 2016, and there could be some this year as well. Trump supporters gathered to protest in Washington on Saturday, occasionally clashing with counter-protesters and police.
Following armed protests in Michigan and arrests in what the FBI called a foiled kidnapping plot against Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, police will escort the state’s 16 voters for Biden to parking at the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing, said voter Chris Cracchiolo, chairman of the Grand Traverse Democratic Party in the northwest of the state and vice chairman of the Michigan Democratic Party.
“By the time I volunteered to do it, I thought it was a bit ceremonial,” Cracchiolo said. “Since November 3, the scale and importance of this role seems to be increasing every day.”
Tucson Mayor Regina Romero, one of Arizona’s 11 Democratic voters for Biden, said she was not concerned about the protesters as there would be security and not worried about attempts to overturn the results because “I have confidence in our courts”.
Biden Voter and Savannah Mayor Van Johnson said Georgia could see further attempts to reverse the vote even as the Electoral College meets, “given what we’ve already seen here. At this point, no one would be surprised at anything.
When U.S. voters mark ballots in a presidential race every four years, they are technically voting for a candidate’s voters list, which has cast that state’s electoral vote count – one for each representative and US Senator. The candidate who obtains the majority of the electoral votes, 270, wins the presidency.
Beyond Monday, the next step is for Congress to keep track of each state’s electoral votes in a joint session on January 6 chaired by Vice President Mike Pence. There could be a tragedy if at least one member of the House and Senate objects to a state’s voters list or votes; it would oblige each chamber to debate and vote on the objection.
Republican Rep. Mo Brooks from Alabama has said he plans to object, but so far no senator has pledged to join him. Seventy-five Pennsylvania Republican lawmakers also sent a letter to the state’s congressional delegation this month urging them to oppose.
Objections raised in the House in 2000 and 2016 failed for lack of a participating senator. An objection in 2004 to the Ohio results by former Democratic US Senator Barbara Boxer of California and former Democratic US Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones of Ohio delayed the vote count until it was debated and rejected.
Any objection that resulted in a vote is likely to fail, with Democrats holding a majority in the House and enough Republican senators to acknowledge Biden’s victory, said Nathaniel Persily, a Stanford University law professor and electoral law expert.
Realistically, then, Monday’s voters’ meeting is the last stop for anyone waiting for the presidential election process to unfold, Persily said.
“Constitutionally, that would be the end of the road,” he said.
–With help from Margaret Newkirk, David Welch, Amanda Albright and Brenna Goth.
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