The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday concerns the counting of electoral votes by the United States Congress. This is a procedure that is outlined by the Constitution and happens every presidential election. The Elector Clause – Article II, Section 1, Clause 3 – states the following:
The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by Ballot for two Persons, of whom one at least shall not be an Inhabitant of the same State with themselves. And they shall make a List of all the Persons voted for, and of the Number of Votes for each; which List they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the Seat of the Government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate. The President of the Senate shall, in the Presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the Certificates, and the Votes shall then be counted. The Person having the greatest Number of Votes shall be the President, if such Number be a Majority of the whole Number of Electors appointed; and if there be more than one who have such Majority, and have an equal Number of Votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately chuse by Ballot one of them for President; and if no Person have a Majority, then from the five highest on the List the said House shall in like Manner chuse the President. But in chusing the President, the Votes shall be taken by States, the Representation from each State having one Vote; A quorum for this purpose shall consist of a Member or Members from two thirds of the States, and a Majority of all the States shall be necessary to a Choice. In every Case, after the Choice of the President, the Person having the greatest Number of Votes of the Electors shall be the Vice President. But if there should remain two or more who have equal Votes, the Senate shall chuse from them by Ballot the Vice President.
This clause clearly shows that the two-party political system did not exist when the Constitution was written. The Framers of the Constitution created a system where the person with the most votes would become the President of the United States and the person receiving the second most votes would become the Vice President. Can you even imagine our government operating with Joe Biden as President and Donald Trump as Vice President – or vice versa? We know that it would not work.
It did not take long before the new country understood that a change needed to be made. According to an article by Amelia Golini, Amendment 12 was “proposed after the 1796 election resulted in a president (John Adams) and vice president (Thomas Jefferson) from opposing parties, and the 1800 election led to a tie between Jefferson and Aaron Burr.” Jefferson and Burr were both form the Democratic-Republican Party and received equal numbers of votes. Congress voted 36 times before the tie was broken. Jefferson became the President with Burr as his Vice President. The amendment was ratified in 1804 when Jefferson was re-elected with George Clinton as the first Vice President under Amendment 12.
Amendment 12 was passed by Congress on December 9, 1803, and it was ratified on June 15, 1804 – several months before a November presidential election. This amendment changed a portion of Article II, Section 1. A portion of it was later amended by Amendment 20.
… The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted; -- The person having the greatest number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. -- The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice-President, shall be the Vice-President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed, and if no person have a majority, then from the two highest numbers on the list, the Senate shall choose the Vice-President; a quorum for the purpose shall consist of two-thirds of the whole number of Senators, and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a choice. But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.
Amendment 20 changed the applicable dates as follows: “The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3d day of January, of the years in which such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified; and the terms of their successors shall then begin.”
Members of the House of Representatives and the Senate are required by law to certify the electoral votes as being true and free from fraud. It is their responsibility to be the final judges of the integrity of the election. Apparently, there is enough evidence of election fraud in the 2020 presidential election to convince numerous Republicans in Congress to object to the electoral votes. The precedent for doing so was set in 2000 and 2016 when Democrat representatives opposed electoral votes for Donald Trump and for George Bush – but they had no Senate sponsors for their opposition.
More than 140 Republican representatives are said to be ready to oppose the electoral votes for six or seven swing states – those states with alleged election fraud. At least a dozen Republican Senators, led by Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, have stated that they will sponsor the objections. It looks like there will be a few debates in Congress starting on January 6, 2021.
I understand that the electoral votes from each state will be handled as a separate matter. Alabama’s votes will be announced and subjected to vote, then Alaska, etc. When an objection is raised, the process will be halted, and the separate Houses will debate the matter for two hours. If both Houses vote to annul the electoral votes for that state, then the votes will not be counted. If the votes of enough states are not counted – and neither candidate has 270 votes, the House of Representatives will determine the next President. This is where the wording of Amendment 12 is important.
… the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice….
Since each state will have one vote per delegation, there will be only fifty votes. Even though there are more Democrat representatives in the House, there are more Republican delegations. If the vote goes to the House, it is possible for Donald Trump to remain in office.
The best thing that we can do for America now is to pray for the members of Congress with Vice President Mike Pence as the President of the Senate. All Americans should be praying for God’s help in determining what happened on Election Day and who should become the next President of the United States. We should pray that the eyes and ears of our representatives will be opened, and their hearts will be softened enough to discern the will of God. May God continue to bless America!