The Electoral College voted on Monday, December 14, to declare former Vice President Joe Biden the winner of the 2020 presidential election. Amid a heated debate over the results of the race, could this decision seal the deal on Biden’s victory over Donald Trump?
Electoral College Prepares To Vote
Presidential electors from all 50 states met to officially cast their votes for president and vice president. This came only days after the Supreme Court had dismissed a Texas lawsuit to overturn the election results in key battleground states. President Donald Trump’s legal team also filed a series of lawsuits challenging the results after Election Day. However, on Monday afternoon, the former vice president had reached the 270 electoral votes required to secure a victory.
The electoral process involves electors meeting “in their respective states,” typically gathering in their state capitol buildings, with the secretary of state overseeing the process. Electors usually vote on paper ballots, and certificates of the vote are created and signed by each elector. The lists are sent to the vice president, who serves as the president of the Senate, along with the archivist of the United States and the federal district judge in the district where the vote was held.
A Second Set of Electors?
Trump’s team is making a last-ditch effort to reverse the results. White House senior adviser Stephen Miller announced that pro-Trump electors were meeting in five states that Biden won, to declare themselves the true electors. This could give Congress a chance to overturn Biden’s victory when they meet on January 6 to finalize the results.
Miller said, “As we speak, an alternate slate of electors in the contested states is going to vote, and we are going to send those results up to Congress.”
The reason for having this alternate electoral vote, is to keep the matter of a Trump win open, so that the campaign can keep challenging the results. Pennsylvania’s Trump campaign chair Bernie Comfort explained that “we took this procedural vote to preserve any legal claims that may be presented going forward,” and that “[t]his was in no way an effort to usurp or contest the will of the Pennsylvania voters.”
What Does This Vote Mean?
The electoral vote isn’t quite the end of the process. The votes will still have to be certified by a joint session of Congress on January 6. Vice President Mike Pence will oversee the session and announce the winner of the presidential election.
The only hope that Trump has of overturning the election would be to have members of the House and Senate challenge the certification of the Electoral College votes. Representative Mo Brooks (R-AL) intends to mount such a challenge.
Brooks would need to submit a challenge in writing with a senator’s signature to have any chance of succeeding. So far, none have stepped forward to help, but Senators Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Rand Paul (R-KY) have indicated that they might be willing. Even if Brooks gets the support he needs, the strategy is still a long shot. Nevertheless, the race isn’t quite over yet.