The time for President Trump’s repeated baseless allegations of fraud is over, but that doesn’t mean the drama has ended. Lawmakers follow an archaic timeline set out the Constitution and US law to make Biden president.
Just as then-Vice President Biden oversaw the counting of electoral votes that gave Trump the White House in 2017, now it will be Vice President Mike Pence, Trump’s loyal soldier these last four years, who will announce the vote tally that officially makes Biden the winner. Read more about that here.
And Republicans will have to choose how deeply they want to follow Trump into his rabbit hole of conspiracy theories.
Lawmakers will have the ability to raise objections about the vote — just like some Democrats did in 2017. But while those objections were dismissed easily in 2017, Republican senators could, if they choose, drag the process out this year, and force the House and Senate to vote on individual points.
Here’s a breakdown of what will take place today:
- Electoral votes are counted in Congress.
- Members of the House and the Senate will meet in the House chamber. The President of the Senate — that’s Pence — will preside over the session and the electoral votes will be read and counted in alphabetical order by two appointees each from the House and Senate.
- They will then give their tallies to Pence, who will announce the results and listen for objections.
- If there are objections, the House and Senate consider them separately to decide how to count those votes.
- There are 538 electoral votes — one for each congressperson and senator plus three for Washington, DC. If no candidate gets to a majority — that’s 270 — then the 435 members of the House decide the election. Each state gets a vote. So while there are more Democrats in the House, Republicans, as of now, control more state delegations, so it is possible the House could pick Trump even though there is a Democratic majority.
- The House has until noon on Jan. 20 to pick the President. If they can’t, it would be the vice president or the next person eligible in the line of presidential succession.
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