Casting and counting the electoral votes: What to expect
• Every state has now certified its vote, including the states where legal challenges were made. As a result, electoral votes are teed up to be cast on Dec. 14. (Monday)
• Congress officially counts the electoral votes in a joint session at 1 p.m. on Jan. 6. There is one last-ditch option for supporters of President Donald Trump to derail the process, but implementing it is complicated.
• A senator would have to join a House member in objecting to a state’s slate of votes, and the narrow Republican majority in the Senate would have to stick together to approve the objection. But even if both of those things occurred, the Democratic-held House would not go along, and because both chambers must agree to an objection, the effort would fail.
We are now just days away from the quadrennial meeting of the Electoral College on Dec. 14, followed by Inauguration Day on Jan. 20... Here’s a guide to what will happen between now and then.
Will the electors vote on Dec. 14?
Yes. By now, the "safe harbor" date has passed — that’s the date that, by law, election results that have been certified are considered conclusive for the purposes of determining which electoral slate casts a state’s votes. Safe harbor is like a "super shield" protecting the electoral votes from changing, said Ned Foley, an Ohio State University law professor who specializes in elections.
This year, the safe harbor date was Dec. 8. Every state has now certified its vote, including the ones where legal challenges were made. As a result, "there’s no doubt we will have the votes of the electors cast on Dec. 14," Foley said...
How does the process of casting electoral votes work?
On Dec. 14, the electors sign and seal six certificates listing their votes for president and vice president. One certificate is sent to Congress, two are sent to the secretary of state in their state, two are sent to the National Archives, and one is sent to the court of the district in which the electors have assembled...
What are "faithless" electors?
The number of electoral votes earned by each candidate could vary from what they seemed to have won in the election, if "faithless" electors decide to vote for someone other than the candidate voters chose. This has happened occasionally, in small numbers, in recent decades. As recently as 2016, two Texas electors didn’t vote for Donald Trump and a Hawaii elector and four Washington state electors didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton. But it has never been enough to shift the result...
When do the electoral results truly become official?
Congress officially counts the electoral votes in a joint session at 1 p.m. on Jan. 6.
The president of the Senate — a position held by the sitting vice president — presides...
Four "tellers" — two from the House, two from the Senate — read the certificates from the states and the District of Columbia and count the electoral votes. The electoral certificates are unsealed and counted in alphabetical order by state. The presiding officer announces the result...
When the process is complete, the vice president declares a winner. At this point, the election is officially decided and simply awaits the inauguration.
What could be done to upset this process?
The statute governing electoral vote counting in Congress prohibits debate and most motions, but supporters of Trump have one longshot chance to object.
"During the reading of the certificates, an objection may be made in writing, but must be signed by at least one member of each house," said Steven Smith, a political scientist at Washington University in St. Louis.
Because the statute that governs the process says that electoral votes that are "regularly given" and "lawfully certified" must be counted, the objections would likely seek to attack the meaning of these terms, Smith said. The presiding officer would determine whether these objections are in order or not.
If the objection is ruled in order, the joint session is suspended so that the House and Senate can separately debate and vote on it. Each chamber decides on its own by a simple majority, said Gregory Koger, a University of Miami political scientist.
The statute sets a debate limit of two hours on each chamber for considering objections, Smith said. "Done repeatedly over several states, this process can consume a great deal of time," he said.
Is any of this a realistic way of securing a second term for Trump?
Not really, thanks mainly to the Democrats’ majority in the House. Because both chambers must agree to an objection, it would fail if only one agrees to it. And if the objection fails, the challenged votes are counted.
"Objections are easily raised, but there is no realistic chance that House Democrats would approve of Republican-sponsored objections," Smith said.
Koger agreed, saying, "There is zero chance a challenge will succeed if the voting falls along party lines."
It may not even get to this point, of course. "At present, some House members have signaled their willingness to support a challenge, but no senator has confirmed that he or she will do so," Koger said.
Recent history is against House members finding a willing senator. "In 2000, 2004, and 2016, we saw multiple objections from House Democrats, but no senator objected, so the objections were not considered," said John Fortier, director of governmental studies at the Bipartisan Policy Center.
If House Republicans did manage to get a senator to co-sign an objection, it would remain a heavy lift for the objectors to get all Senate Republicans to support their cause. Senate Democrats would need to pick off only a couple of institutional-minded Republicans to side with them to make sure that the objection fails. These could include GOP Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine, and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania. All four have already said that Biden is the duly chosen president-elect.
"I am not sure if a senator will go along with the objection," Fortier said. And even if one did, he said, "I am not sure I believe that the Senate would actually reject the votes or slate of electors."
Once the count is gaveled to a close, experts said they can’t imagine any other last-ditch scenarios being available to Trump and his supporters.
"As a practical matter, I don’t think there’s any realistic expectation that Biden’s inauguration is vulnerable to what will happen in Congress on Jan. 6," Foley said.
When is the inauguration?
At noon on Jan. 20, the outgoing president’s term expires, and the winning candidate is sworn in. With that, the 2020 presidential election will..be over.
My comment: I have no idea if between now and Monday, the Supreme court will hear any other cases before the court. If not, then it appears the college of electors will vote in all 50 states Monday the 14th of December. I was unable to determine if that vote will be known to the public at that time - if not, then we won't know the final outcome of the election until Jan. 6th, 2021. It is unknown if any of the electors will vote against their state's outcome, or how many would do so.
To be honest with you that picture looks pretty grim for President Trump and our nation. If the electors vote exactly what the certified state vote outcome was, Biden will be determined the winner. The swing states, where there was proven vote rigging, didn't have time to appoint new electors. So apparently, the vote will be determined by the electors already chosen for that task.
At that point if the electors give Biden 270 votes or more, will that be the end of the matter? NO.
At that point on Jan. 6th or soon after, Trump does have the option to invoke the Insurrection Act of 1807, and declare the national election as fraudulent - criminally and unconstitutionally influenced by foreign nations - along with treasonous vote rigging taking place in multiple states. It would be exposed as an act of war, treason and an attempt to overthrow the American system to install an illegitimate administration friendly with communist governments that are anti-American.
This declaration would bypass the US Congress and the Supreme court and place the nation under a state of national emergency - which is basically martial law.
In addition to that, the president could also do as Lincoln did, and "suspend habeas corpus", and arrest and detain indefinitely, the traitorous individuals that took part in this act of treason. They would then be dealt with in military courts in due course.
If Trump chooses that option, the result would naturally be widespread rioting in several US cities. The military would then be placed inside those cities to quell the unrest and acts of insurrection. The military in my view would go along with this command from Trump as the Commander in Chief, and defend the constitutional system that is set up for such events.
I am certain President Trump is aware of these two options and may have many more options available to him. But the question is, if the electors vote in Biden, will he take those historic measures to defend the Constitution and the millions of voters that had their votes stolen from them?
If I was in his shoes, I most certainly would. It is the sworn duty of the president to uphold and defend the Constitution at all costs. This clearly qualifies as a proper and legal course of action in view of all the facts.
You can imagine how this burden weighs heavy on him at this time. The safety of the nation is at stake and lives are literally at stake. The anguish and turmoil will be elevated to a fever pitch on both sides. Each American would have to decide whose side they're on. And, if Trump takes that course of action he will instantly be labeled as a dictator and a fascists by millions of people, politicians and the news media. All of these realities weigh heavy on his mind at this time.
As a self made billionaire, he could live out his life with is wife and family and no longer have to deal with all the stress and insults from the left. Even though he knows in his heart he was cheated by socialist thugs, and millions of Americans were cheated of their vote - it is anyone's guess what decision he will make.
I have tried to remain positive throughout this process and encourage Trump supporters to stand strong in the hope of an eventual Trump victory. But, as corrupt as the political system and the courts are today, it was an uphill battle for the Trump team.
I've avoided considering what the outcome would be if Biden is elected. The thought of it is extremely distasteful and worrisome. This is not the same as an election for Bush, Clinton or Obama. The Biden regime are hardcore socialists that have every intention of implementing laws that are one step closer to full communism. Our 1st, 2nd and 4th amendment rights will be in dire jeopardy. The economy will continue to go down drastically, until a major war breaks out that will go nuclear.
They also plan to give reparations to blacks that will cost an estimated $12 trillion. They will implement a Covid-19 passport system that will compel citizens to comply or not be able to function freely in society or to freely travel.
Taxes will go up. Incomes will go down. Tens of millions of illegals will flood into the nation by federal law and enforcement against states rights.
Inflation will be rampant as the government establishes a new "living wage". And that will further the increase in the national debt, which is already unpayable. The amount of negative socialist changes in the American system under a Biden presidency, are so nightmarish that they're nearly incalculable.
In effect, we would wake up in an Orwellian society where communism is only a few short steps away.
In view of that, it is highly unlikely all the states will tolerate or accept such a government, and will immediately start the process to secede and form their own free states. This will exacerbate the American system of commerce that is already at the breaking point with the pandemic. But the people in those states will prefer it over a civil war and armed conflict.
As that is going on we will still be locked inside our homes as federal prisoners and a major war or two will finally break out to the delight of the military industrial complex. This outcome is what they have been lusting for - so their factories will make more wealth and their stocks will soar again for profits. All at the expense of sacrificing our sons and daughters as cannon fodder in foreign lands and coming back in a coffin. The main stream media of course will extoll the great virtues and patriotism of that sacrifice, all under a liberal president.
It is all contrived and controlled. As long as corrupt politicians will take bribes to do what the wealthy elite want, that nation and those people are no longer free. That is why Trump must make the hard decisions and remain as president four more years. George Eaton