Biden formally clinches Electoral College victory with California’s 55 votes

CNN’s Zachary B. Wolf is answering questions from readers in regards to the Electoral College. You can ask your question here.

Here’s a query from Cathy in Hawaii:

I’m seeing conflicting details about what occurs if circumstances are met that require the 2 chambers of Congress to fulfill individually to contemplate a problem by a congressional member to the outcomes of the Electoral College’s reported outcomes. One studies that every chamber would then meet individually from the opposite to contemplate, then vote, with every senator and every consultant having one vote, whether or not to assist the problem or not. In this situation, Joe Biden would seemingly prevail. The different studies that every chamber would do the identical EXCEPT within the House every state can have just one vote, not every consultant – which might imply Trump would seemingly prevail. Which is appropriate? And would you present a hyperlink to the outline of this strategy of the legal guidelines masking such a risk in our Constitution? 

Thank you for this very detailed and extremely vital technical query. Let me begin on the finish, the place you ask for particular hyperlinks to US regulation. Here’s a link to Title 3, section 15 of US Code, “Counting Electoral Votes in Congress,” which is about as impenetrable of legalese as you’re prone to see.

To your level, let me make clear the good concern you’re elevating:

  1. It is predicted that House Republicans will object to the electoral vote rely after it takes place Jan. 6. After the votes are counted by Vice President Mike Pence – in his capability as president of the Senate – and he pronounces the winner, lawmakers have the power to boost objections.
  2. If a senator joins in a number of of those objections, then the House and Senate go to their respective chambers and take into account the objections. 
  3. If each chambers maintain the objections, a state’s electors may very well be discarded.

Ultimately, if electoral votes solid immediately are rejected this manner, and in consequence Biden doesn’t get 270 electoral votes, then the House picks the subsequent president. And, as you be aware, House members would vote as state delegations on this course of to choose the President — 50 whole votes.

But the query is in regards to the objections by which Republicans would search votes to discard electoral votes. In these votes would they vote as state delegations or as members of Congress. If they vote as states, that advantages Republicans, who management extra state delegations. If they vote as people, with 435 whole votes, that advantages Democrats, since they maintain a majority within the House.

The reply is that they’d vote as particular person members and Democrats ought to be capable to defeat any objection. 

Here’s why: While regulation linked above doesn’t say particularly how congresspeople would vote, these objections about electoral votes have been raised twice earlier than and in each cases, the House voted as a 435-member physique, in accordance with footnotes on this Congressional Research Service report.

In 1969, an objection was raised a couple of faithless elector who voted for George Wallace. The House and Senate each thought-about it and the House voted as a 435-member physique. In 2004, California Sen. Barbara Boxer and Ohio Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones – each Democrats — objected to the electoral votes from the decisive state of Ohio. Again, the House voted as 435-member physique.

It’s by no means clear what number of Republicans in both the House or the Senate would vote to disregard voters and prop up a second Trump administration. 

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