Almost two months have passed since Election Day 2020 – November 3, but the election results have not yet been finalized. In fact, anything can happen when Congress meets on January 6, 2021, to certify the election results. In normal circumstances, Americans know soon after Election Day who won the election. However, we all know that 2020 has not been a normal year, and the election followed the abnormal pattern of the year.
Despite court challenges in numerous states, all 50 states certified their election results, and the Electoral College voted about two weeks ago. Nevertheless, the important day is January 6 when Congress meets to certify the results. It appears that the drama of the election will continue into the congressional session. More than 130 years have passed since Congress approved the Electoral Count Act, but this is only the third time since 1887 that the presidential election will involve debates in both the House and the Senate.
Numerous members of the House of Representatives – led by Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Alabama) have indicated that they will challenge the election results from several states – mainly the states with alleged election fraud. It is not unusual for representatives to challenge the electoral votes. Numerous Democrats challenges the votes in 2016.
The unusual event for 2020 is that a Senator will join them in their objections. Yesterday, Senator Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) announced that he would object to the counting of votes from certain states. His announcement means that the objections raised by representatives in the House will be debated separately in both the House and the Senate. Senators Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) and Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) have indicated that they might be willing to join objections, and Senator-elect Tommy Tuberville (R-Alabama) suggested that he was likely to sign a challenge.
In addition to the objections being raised, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) was joined by 11 Republican alternative electors from Arizona in a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. “The suit calls for [Vice President Mike] Pence, in his role as president of the Senate and presiding officer of the joint session, to reject Electoral College votes from states where voter fraud or irregularities are suspected.” Fred Lucas explained what the law says should happen, and why Gohmert filed a lawsuit.
The Electoral Count Act of 1887 requires a joint session of Congress to count the Electoral College votes from each state and stipulates that the vice president, as presiding officer, will certify the results.
However, if an objection to the count is declared in writing by a House member and signed by at least one senator, the joint session would be required to suspend and both the House and the Senate would be required to debate the objection for two hours. The chambers would vote on the lawmakers’ objection before reconvening in the joint session.
The Gohmert-led lawsuit argues in part that the 1887 law is unconstitutional, contending that the Constitution grants the vice president the exclusive authority and sole discretion in determining which electoral votes to count.
The lawsuit argues that legitimizing electoral votes would be a violation of the Constitution’s Electors Clause and limit or eliminate the vice president’s 12th Amendment authority to determine which slates of electors should be counted.
Article II of the Constitution and the 12th Amendment say the president of the Senate (in this case Pence) shall, in the presence of the Senate and House, “open all the certificates, and the Votes shall then be counted.”
Two days ago, U.S. District Judge Jeremy Kernodle gave Pence until 5 p.m. on December 31 to respond to the lawsuit, and he gave Gohmert until 9 a.m. on January 1 to issue a reply. Gohmert asked the judge to make his decision by January 4 in case he wants to make an appeal before Congress meets on January 6.
President Donald Trump has not conceded the election because he obviously believes that election fraud took place. No honest person can deny that strange things happened in America in the weeks surrounding Election Day and with the counting of the votes. In fact, half the nation believes that election fraud took place, and that Trump is correct in challenging it. I support the President in his attempt to get to the bottom of the problems. The integrity of our elections is of the utmost importance if we are to have a republic.
I encourage you to get your popcorn and peanuts ready because there will be another circus to watch in Washington, D.C. on January 6. There will most likely be fireworks to make it more exciting. Trump issued the following invitation to his followers: “Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!”