American Electoral College’s turn: chances of contesting the results are almost nil | NOW


In every US state, delegates from the Electoral College, often referred to as electors, will meet on Monday to formally elect the next US president. How exactly does that work, and can President Trump do anything to avert the inevitable?

Who are the electors and what do they do?

Each state will have the same number of electors as the number of senators per state (two) plus the number of members of the House of Representatives (by population), with a maximum of 55. In total there are 538 delegates. Because of the winner-take-all system in the US, the candidate who wins in a certain state gets all the electors behind him. Only in five districts in Maine and Nebraska does this work differently.

After local politicians approve the results, the winning party supplies its electors. They are elected internally. It is an honorary position, usually given to prominent party members, donors, political activists and up-and-coming young politicians.

In 33 states (and the District of Columbia, in which Washington is located), electors are required by law to vote for their state’s winning candidate. In principle, electors from the other seventeen states may vote for another, but the chance that the election results will be changed by these so-called ‘faithless electors’ is nil.

Most electors traveled to a central location in their state on Monday. Only Nevada keeps the vote completely online. Voting takes place during the day. The exact times vary by state.

What happens next?

The outcome of the electoral vote has yet to be approved by Congress. That’s normally a question of hammering, but this time the number of Republicans questioning the election outcome – without shred of evidence – is potentially causing complications.

The House of Representatives and the Senate will meet at the beginning of January. Newly sworn parliamentarians are appointed numerators. They open and read the envelopes containing the results from all states so that Senate President, Vice President Mike Pence, can approve them.

Trump still says he can contest the result. Are those ‘possible complications’?

If the Electoral College has sealed Biden’s victory, Trump and his supporters theoretically have one more chance to prevent the Bidens and their movers from standing on the White House doorstep on January 20.

A fairly obscure law of 1887 gives members of Congress the right to object (in writing) to the final result from a particular state and demand that it be rejected. However, the requirements for that step are very strict.

The objection must be endorsed by a colleague from the other House: a representative from the House needs the support of a senator and vice versa. If so, the complaint will be debated in both houses of Congress for up to two hours, after which a vote will take place. Both the House and the Senate must decide to reject the results from the state in question.

House Republican politicians plan to challenge the results in five states: Arizona, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Georgia and Wisconsin. They argue that large-scale election fraud has taken place there.


President Donald Trump told the press in late October that he will leave the White House if the Electoral College elects his rival president. (Photo: ANP)

Will that pay off?

No, that is not possible. In dozens of unsuccessful lawsuits, Trump and his supporters have never presented convincing evidence for that claim, and the parliaments of all five states have already approved the results.

For the time being, it does not appear that the Republican delegates have found a senator from their party willing to endorse their complaints. Should such an ally emerge, the Democratic majority in the House and the meager Republican majority in the Senate make it very unlikely that the objections will make it to the finish line.

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