US Polls 2020: How the Dramatic Endgame Will Play Out in Congress
This week, the US Congress will put the finishing touches to the chaotic, protracted 2020 US presidential election.
This week, the US Congress will put the finishing touches to the chaotic, protracted 2020 US Presidential election.
A joint session of the House and Senate will assemble at 1pm on 6 January as the votes cast by the 538-member Electoral College following the November election are opened, counted and certified. The president of the Senate (who also happens to be Vice President Mike Pence) will then finally declare the winner.
Usually, this process generates very little public attention because it is essentially just a formal ratification of an outcome the American public has known for almost two months.
But this year will be different because a small group of President Donald Trump’s surrogates in the House and Senate have indicated they will challenge the certification and votes of the electors in what will be a futile attempt to delay the announcement of Democrat Joe Biden’s victory.
Congress should immediately appoint an Electoral Commission, with full investigatory and fact-finding authority, to conduct an emergency 10-day audit of the election returns in the disputed states. Once completed, individual states would evaluate the commission’s findings and could convene a special legislative session to certify a change in their vote, if needed.
At most, this last-ditch attempt to overturn the election result, based on Trump’s baseless claims of voter fraud, will only delay the inevitable. This could take anywhere from a few hours to a day or so, depending on how many separate challenges are made.
How the Process Will Play Out
The procedure for dealing with these challenges is based on the . This is how the drama will unfold. When Pence announces the electoral vote tally from each state, he will call for any objections. , the objection must be made in writing and...
“...shall state clearly and concisely, and without argument, the ground thereof, and shall be signed by at least one senator and one member of the House of Representatives.”
When an objection is announced, the two houses of Congress will retire immediately and, in separate sessions, debate the objection for a maximum of two hours with no member speaking for more than five minutes or more than once. A vote on the objection is then taken.
Under the law, Congress can only reject electoral votes that have not been “regularly given”, but both the House and Senate must agree to do so. Congress doesn’t have the power to replace a state’s electors.
The Damage That Has Been Done
However, what is clear is this will be the final legal attempt to undermine the integrity of the 2020 election — since there is still no substantial evidence of fraud, corruption, rigged voting machines or any other misconduct that Trump and his surrogates have alleged.
But the cost of these actions will be immense. The cumulative effect of over at the state and federal level, the failed attempts to persuade Republican-controlled state legislatures to , and the latest effort to pressure the secretary of state of Georgia to , have damaged the electoral process and American democracy itself.
Moreover, the willingness of Republican lawmakers in Congress to continue to back Trump’s ineffectual efforts to overturn the results of an election – without any evidence of wrongdoing or hopes of succeeding – only compounds the damage further.
“Designed to disenfranchise millions of Americans simply because they voted for someone in a different party.”
(This is an opinion piece and the views expressed above are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for them. This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article here.)
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