- According to a report by The Atlantic, Trump’s campaign is considering a post-election strategy that would circumvent the results in key swing states by installing voters who would vote for the president in the constituency even if he loses.
- Election experts said initiatives by state lawmakers to appoint their own list of presidential voters after the fact would violate federal law.
- Trump’s campaign plan would focus on swinging states with Republican-led legislatures, including Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, The Atlantic reported.
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Using a logic of unsubstantiated claims about widespread election fraud and other irregularities with postal voting, President Donald Trump “would have asked state lawmakers to put aside the popular vote and exercise their power to directly choose a list of voters,” he said. wrote Barton Gellman of The Atlantic, adding that “the longer Trump can keep the vote count in doubt, the more pressure will be on lawmakers to act before the deadline expires.”
Experts said moves by state lawmakers to nominate their own list of presidential voters after the election would violate federal law, because Congress enacted a statute in 1845 requiring states to appoint their constituents to the constituency on Monday elections.
—McKay Coppins (@mckaycoppins) 23 September 2020
Many states have expanded access to voting by mail and, at the legislative level or under court orders, have extended the deadlines for receiving ballots – moves that could reduce the number of deprived voters.
In previous years, enough votes were counted on election day for the networks and newspapers to announce a winner. Importantly, the results of any election are never finalized on election night; In most cases, officials take days or weeks to review and certify the results.
But as more Americans are expected to vote by mail this year, which takes longer to process and count the votes in person, it is very likely that there will not be enough votes counted to declare a winner on election night.
During the propaganda process, propaganda commissions – which are usually composed of electoral officials at the county level – process and tabulate not only the ballots of the people who voted in person, but the absent and post ballots, the provisional ballots. and ballot papers from abroad and from military electors.
With the major swing states of Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin unable to legally process or count ballots absent until election day, and with ongoing legal disputes over the ballots received after election day, Trump’s campaign looks like is trying to question the results and extend it. the battle for the inauguration day.
Trump’s campaign plan would focus on fundamental swing states with Republican-led legislatures, including Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Arizona and Florida also have Republican governors, while the latter states have Democratic governors.
Lawrence Tabas, the Pennsylvania GOP chairman, said the electoral strategy was something the party could pursue.
“I don’t think this is the right time to discuss these strategies and approaches, but [direct appointment of electors] is one of the options, “he told Atlantic.” It is one of the legal options available established in the Constitution. “
The Atlantic reported that at a 2016 rally in Delaware, Ohio, Trump suggested he would only stick to the election results if he won.
“I would like to promise and promise to all of my constituents and supporters, and to all the people of the United States, that I will fully accept the results of this great and historic presidential election,” Trump said at the time, adding, “If I win!”
And in the 2018 mid-term election in Florida, when GOP Senator Rick Scott and Governor Ron DeSantis led by substantial margins on election night based on in-person voting, but saw their results dwindle in the following days as correspondence cards were drawn up, trump tweeted that both elections should be called based on the in-person vote reported on election night.
“Honest vote counting is no longer possible: ballot papers are massively infected,” he wrote.
How would this plan work and how could it backfire?
While Americans are entitled to one vote, there is no constitutional right to vote for the president and Americans do not directly elect the president. Each state appoints a certain number of voters that corresponds to its number of US House representatives and senators.
The constituency was conceived at the Constitutional Convention in 1787 as a compromise between those who wanted Americans to directly elect presidents and those who wanted Congress to have the casting vote.
Under Article II of the Constitution, state lawmakers have the authority to appoint their state’s voters in a way they determine – which legislatures they might cite as justification for directly appointing Trump’s loyal voters.
But an effort by a lawmaker to go rogue and ignore the results of the popular vote in the state could backfire and be more of a problem than it’s worth.
As the National Task Force on Election Crises explained in a recent legal note, federal law does not require state legislators to hold popular elections, but requires states to name their list of voters on election day, or the first Tuesday after. the first Monday of November.
State legislatures attempting to nominate their own list of Trump voters after the election would likely spur judicial challenges and risk Congress deciding how the state can allocate its electoral votes.
The term “safe harbor”, by which states must certify their results without risking the involvement of Congress, falls on December 8 this year. Six days later, the voters gather to vote.
The task force memo noted that “the consequences of not meeting” the safe harbor requirements set by federal law “are significant.”
“The loss of Safe Harbor protection leaves Congress to decide which voters a state counts, with no obligatory deference to the preferences of the state’s voters or legislator,” the memo states.
Edward Foley, a University of Ohio law professor and election scholar, wrote in a 2019 law review article that “the procedures for handling a contested presidential election that reaches Congress are sadly, and in embarrassing way, lacking “.
Both the 12th Amendment and the 1877 Electoral Count Act give remarkably unclear indications as to how both houses of Congress will resolve two separate electoral nominations lists, Foley said.