Senator Josh Hawley will contest the certification of the Electoral College votes in one last effort to keep Joe Biden out of the White House.
“I Cannot Vote to Certify the Electoral College Results on January 6th,” the Missouri senator announced this week.
Following that news, Representative-elect Marjorie Taylor-Greene tweeted out that the “word on the Hill” is that GOP Senate Leader Mitch McConnell is working together with Democrat Speaker Nancy Pelosi on a rules change “deal” to block our Electoral College Certification objection.
Over 30 Republican representatives and Senator Josh Hawley have confirmed they will challenge the Electoral College count next week.
On January 3rd, the Congress will vote on the Rules package, and they can change the rules at that time.
McConnell’s concerned a big fight will hurt the runoff.
Word on the Hill is that Mitch McConnell and Nancy Pelosi could be working together on a rules change “deal” to block our Electoral College Certification objection.
The American people deserve to hear about the voter fraud that took place on Nov 3 … NO DEAL, NO COVER-UP!
— Marjorie Taylor Greene 🇺🇸 (@mtgreenee) December 30, 2020
There are three sets of rules and regulations that govern how the Electoral College results can be counted: (1) the United States Constitution, (2) the Electoral Count Act of 1887, and (3) the House and Senate Rules.
The 12th Amendment to the US Constitution, ratified after the disputed election of 1800, details the process for how the Electoral College is to vote and who is supposed to count the votes: the President of the Senate, aka the sitting Vice President. The 12th Amendment, however, simply says that the Vice President shall “open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted.” The Constitution doesn’t detail how the votes are to be counted.
After the disputed election of 1876, The Electoral Count Act was passed the next year to provide order to the process. This law is outlined in 3 USC § 15 and requires that one Congressman and one Senator both co-sponsor an objection in order for it to be heard.
But even this law is vague. It doesn’t stipulate how objections or debates are held, or even how the vote is conducted. It simply says that objections will be given to both the House and the Senate “for its decision.” For this process, you have to look at the House and Senate rules. The rules, for example, dictate that when an objection is filed, there must be two hours of debate.
There will be enough co-sponsors to mount a formal challenge to the Electoral College results, but Mitch McConnell and Nancy Pelosi are allegedly working together in secret to change the rules to stop it from taking place.
Pelosi and McConnell do have the power to amend the House and Senate rules. While the big certification vote will happen on January 6th, both chambers of Congress will also meet on January 3rd to swear-in new members and agree to the rules package that will govern the 117th Congress.
All they need to change the rules is a simple majority in both the House and Senate without a presidential signature.
Currently, Mike Pence has the right to take the Trump electors’ protest ballots cast in NV, AZ, WI, MI, PA, and GA and declare that they are the legitimate Electoral College votes. A rules change, however, would tie his hands and only allow him to count ballots received by the Safe Harbor deadline or electors who have been certified by a governor.
He already suggested he wasn’t going to do that, and it’s not likely to happen in any case.