How Congress Counts the Votes of the Electoral College


WASHINGTON (AP) – Wednesday’s congressional joint session to count voters could run late into the night as some Republicans plan to question Joe Biden’s Democratic victory in at least six states.

Spreading an objection to Biden’s electorate is important in the generally routine step of the inauguration path, and it is the widest effort to challenge the president’s victory since the Civil War.

Republicans – at least 13 senators and potentially more than 100 House members – point to Trump’s repeated, baseless accusations of widespread fraud. Their objections could force more votes in the Republican-led senate and the Democrat-controlled house, which will almost certainly fail. More than a dozen GOP senators said they did not support the challenges and planned to vote against it.

There was no widespread election fraud, as confirmed by a number of election officials and William Barr, who resigned from the Attorney General’s Office last month. Neither Trump nor the legislators, who promise to object to the count, have submitted credible evidence that would change the result.

The judges rejected almost all of the legal challenges facing Trump and his allies. The Supreme Court, which is made up of three Trump-nominated judges, also rejected a request to hear cases aimed at invalidating the outcome of the election in key battlefield states.

Wednesday’s congressional session is the final step in confirming Biden’s victory after the Electoral College formally elected in December. The meeting is provided for in the Constitution and contains several separate steps.

Look at the joint meeting:

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE CONGRESS IS ON WEDNESDAY?

Federal law requires Congress to meet on Jan. 6 to have all states issue closed certificates that record their voter votes. Votes are brought into the chamber in special mahogany boxes used for the occasion.

Representatives of both parties in both chambers will read out the results aloud and conduct an official countdown. Senate President Mike Pence, Vice President, will chair the meeting and announce the winner. Class begins at 1 p.m. EST.

WHAT DOES THE CONSTITUTION NEED?

The Constitution requires Congress to meet and count voter votes. If there is a tie, the House decides on the presidency, each congressional delegation has one vote. This has not happened since the 1800s, and Biden’s election victory over Trump was decisive, 306-232.

HOW DOES THE SEAT WORK?

The two chambers meet at noon to count the votes. Pence is expected to preside, but if the vice president cannot be there, there is an example of the senate being chaired pro tempore, or the senator of the majority party for the longest time. This is currently Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa.

The presenter opens and presents the ballot papers in the alphabetical order of the states. The “treasuries” appointed by the House and Senate are members of both parties, and then each certificate is read aloud, the votes are recorded and counted. In the end, the President declares who obtained the majority of the votes of the President and the Vice-President.

WHAT IF THERE IS AN OPPOSITION?

After the treasurer has read the state certificate, any member may stand up and object to the vote of that state for any reason. But the presiding officer will not hear the objection unless it is signed in writing and signed by both the House and the Senate.

If there is such a request, the joint session will be suspended and the House and Senate will hold separate meetings to examine it for up to two hours. To uphold the objection, both chambers must adopt it by a simple majority vote. If both do not agree, the original voter votes are counted without change.

This process is repeated each time an objection is raised and can last all night and until Thursday.

This objection was last considered in 2005 when Ohio MP Stephanie Tubbs Jones and Senator Barbara Boxer of California, both Democrats, objected to Ohio’s election votes and claimed there were voting irregularities. Both the House and the Senate disputed the objection and easily rejected it. This is the second time such a vote has taken place.

WHO IS THE EXPECTED SUBJECT?

Dozens of domestic Republicans and a small group of GOP senators are expected to protest in at least six swing states where Trump has allegedly committed fraud, even with the agreement of non-party election officials and Trump’s former attorney general. None of the members provided detailed evidence, and few of them questioned the election of congressmen elected on the same ballot.

The House of Republicans, led by Jim Jordan and Alabama MP Mo Brooks, said they wanted to challenge the results in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Josh Hawley, a Missouri senator in the Senate, was the first to say he would join the Republican House to object to the Pennsylvania results. On Saturday, Texas Senator Ted Cruz announced a coalition of another 11 senators who vowed to vote against state voters on Wednesday unless Congress appoints an election commission to immediately monitor the election results. Both Hawley and Cruz are among the potential 2024 presidential candidates.

Senator Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga. At a meeting with Trump on Monday, he said he would join in the challenges as well.

It is unclear whether senators will join House Republicans in all six states. Cruz is expected to object to Arizona, which comes early in the count, and Loeffler may object to the state of Georgia, say design experts who have asked for anonymity to discuss it.

The challenges divided the party. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell called on his colleagues not to raise objections, stating last month on a private call that the vote would be “terrible”.

Several other Senate Republicans have criticized the effort, including Texas Senator John Cornyn and South Dakota Senator John Thune, Senate No. 2 Republican. Thune said last month that any objections would be “like a shot dog” in the Senate.

Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse says the challenge is “bad for the country and bad for the party”. South Carolina Senator Tim Scott said “no judge, judge or fact-finding has found evidence that election results should be decided in these states.”

Another possible chance in 2024, according to Tom Cotton, the Arkansas Senate, of attacking the results “will take away the power to elect a president from among the people, which would essentially close the presidential election and put that power in the hands of the party that would pass Congress. directs ’.

WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE PENCE?

Pence’s role is largely ceremonial, and despite Trump’s opposite wish, he has no power to influence the outcome.

The vice president’s presidency is often embarrassing, as is Pence, who is accused of announcing Biden’s victory – and his own defeat – after the voter votes were counted.

Other vice presidents have found themselves in such an awkward position. In 2001, Vice President Al Gore presided over the countdown to the 2000 presidential election, which he narrowly lost against Republican George W. Bush. Gore had to catch several Democrat objections out of turn. In 2017, Biden presided over the countdown that declared Trump the winner. Biden also fired objections from House Democrats who did not receive Senate support.

ONCE, THE CONGRESS COUNTS THE VOTES, WHAT’S NEXT?

The joint hearing is the last official chance to object, beyond the court cases that have so far proved ineffective for Trump and his team.

“I think the time will come when you have to realize that despite your best efforts, you have failed,” Cornyn said last month.

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Lisa Mascaro, AP congressional correspondent, contributed to this report.