UNITED STATES: Even if the US president, Donald Trump refuses to throw in the towel and his allies in Congress are zealous on January 6th, it is now a waste of time after the electoral college vote
When one branch cracks, we hang on to the next. After the electoral college vote that confirmed Joe Biden’s victory on Monday, many conservative media and supporters of Donald Trump assure that Republicans in Congress can still reverse the result of the poll on January 6. “There are now dueling electors in three states”, rejoices the far-right site The Gateway Pundit. “Nevada certifies its voters for President Trump, the road is wide open for the Supreme Court or the 12th Amendment,” writes Republican Tricia Flanagan. Newsmax or The Epoch Timesalso relay this thesis. But while it is true that half a dozen states have designated so-called “alternative” voters, they have “no legal status”, recalls Chris Edelson, a political science professor specializing in institutions at the University of Washington.
Have States validated “alternative voters”?
No. In total, Republicans staged a vote for what they billed as “alternative voters” in seven states: Nevada, Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan and New Mexico. But as the professor of law Rick Hasen notes on his blog Election Law, the latter have “neither been certified by officials of these states nor by legislatures. They, therefore, have no legal authority ”. Congress will therefore not be able to count them in January. Donald Trump’s allies have filed several new lawsuits, but after more than 50 defeats, including two in the Supreme Court, the case seems heard.
The US president has put pressure for weeks on many elected local Republican, who are in the majority in Michigan and Pennsylvania. But these legislatures refused to endorse alternative lists. This means that we are not in the situation of “dueling electors” as in 1876, with a list validated by the electoral college and another by the local elected officials, which could have opened the door to a hypothetical impasse in which Mike Pence could have intervened (not all constitutionalists agree on the interpretation of the Electoral count act of 1887).
Can Joe Biden’s election be blocked by Congress?
No, because Democrats have a majority in the House. The elected Republican Mo Brooks announced that he would file an appeal to reject the voters of several states. In order for his objection to being considered by Congress, a senator must follow it. Republican leader Mitch McConnell first recognized Joe Biden as president-elect on Tuesday. And, according to the New York Times, he is lobbying behind the scenes so that Conservative senators avoid getting into a trap that would force them to vote and disown Donald Trump. If that happened, as in 2004 (Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer contested Ohio won by George W. Bush against John Kerry), a 2-hour debate would take place, then the Senate and the House would vote. But in case of disagreement, the decision of the House prevails.
Can the 12th Amendment play?
Not this year. The 12th amendment specifies the modalities for the election of the president. In the event of a 269-269 tie in the Electoral College, or if enough large voters are rejected and no candidate obtains a majority, the House appoints the President. It is not a vote by elected (which would favor the Democrats) but one by delegation. There, it is the Republicans who have the advantage. Problem, the electoral college has already spoken, with 306 votes for Joe Biden against 232 for Donald Trump. There is no more suspense.