Mike Pence Cannot ‘Simply Dismiss’ Electoral Votes on January 6th

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As much as Donald Trump wants to succeed in overturning the election results, the window permanently closed on Dec. 14, 2020, when the electoral college met to affirm their votes — 306 for Joe Biden vs. 232 for Trump. Vice President Mike Pence does not have the power to change this fact.

Trump is dumbfounded over this. He has no basic understanding of the election process the Founding Fathers established. While Trump was en route to Florida for Christmas vacation, he retweeted a request made by one of his followers for Pence to refuse to ratify the electoral college votes.

The soon-to-be-former president asked why his vice-president was not doing enough to make sure he remained in office a second term. He bemoaned a recent Lincoln Project video that claimed Pence was moving away from him.

Vice President Pence and Congress’ Role In Election Results

PenceWhen the joint session of Congress convenes on Jan. 6, 2021, their job is to double-check the numbers and ratify the election outcome. As the Senate president, Pence’s duty is to facilitate the proceedings as defined in the United States Code; Title 3, The President; Chapter 1, Presidential Elections and Vacancies; Sections 15-18.

At 1 p.m., the formal certification begins with Pence unsealing the votes and handing each of two tellers who will record the vote. Once there is a final tally, and it has been handed to the “the President of the Senate shall call for objections, if any.”

Dissents are only allowed if the person provides their reasoning in writing and has at least one other congressperson from the opposite chamber sign in agreement. The rules governing how the challenges are handled indicate the complainant from each chamber are the Representative and Senator complaining “may speak to such objection or question for five minutes, and not more than once.”

After challenges are put forth, Congress will meet in its own chamber to allow the contesters the opportunity to speak out. The Senate and the House of Representatives leaders are to allow up to two hours to debate the reason behind their complaint.

Vice President Pence is the facilitator; his job is to follow the rules set down by the Founding Fathers and follow the United States Code regarding placement of the president. He is there to preserve order, not to be engulfed in any debate.

Written by Cathy Milne-Ware

Sources:

CNN: Frustrated Trump met with Pence before holiday break, by Pamela Brown and Kevin Liptak
NPR: Congress’ Role In Election Results: Here’s What Happens Jan. 6
National Archives: Electoral College Timeline of Event

Images Courtesy of Gage Skidmore’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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