The basic problem with autocracy is it’s just so damn exhausting. All the pro-democracy, rational, normal people have to repeat themselves over and over again about how yes, actually, the laws still apply to you, Karen, even though Trump was “President,” and all the fascists are running around … I guess goose-stepping and ironing their uniform. But yes, for about the billionth time Joe Biden is President-Elect.
This time it’s because the electors in each state who make up the Electoral College met in their respective states at a place chosen by their state legislatures to go through the process of voting by paper ballot for both President and Vice President. And on submission and tallying of their ballots it was shown that Biden and Harris both received over 270 Electoral College votes.
Now, Stephen Miller aka Joseph Goebbels trying not to be found out for vampirism, did say he wanted to submit alternate electoral votes to Congress. And you know what? Fine. Like … Trump’s entire thing has been about alternative news and alternative facts and the alternative right *cough* Nazis *cough* so sure. Alternative Electoral College votes are totally on brand.
But several things. Firstly, as I described previously and in absolutely gory detail, you can’t do that. When the votes are certified in each state, nearly always prior to a day that fell on Dec. 8 this year or the “safe harbour,” date and absolutely before the date electors meet to vote which fell on Dec. 14 this year, the governor of each state creates a “Certificate of Ascertainment,” indicating how the electors were chosen and who they are. When the electors then meet and vote they also create a tally with their names and signatures that becomes the “Certificate of the Vote,” and must be paired with and match the several copies of the Certificate of Ascertainment supplied to them. And there’s no cheating, because the governor will have already sent yet another copy of the Certificate of Ascertainment to the Archivist.
Basically, if you weren’t on that original Certificate of Ascertainment you can vote as an elector in your living room, but it certainly won’t be going to Congress.
But also, trying to force your way into the capital building to vote when you’re not actually an elector is not an effective tactic. It’s deeply absurdist and funny and thanks to the Michigan GOP we now have these silly people to laugh at, but it’s not an actual thing. That’s not how elections work. You can’t demand that you won the election when you clearly lost.
Despite losing basically all of their weird court cases in a manner tonally consistent with Rudy Giuliani’s audible fart in the Michigan state legislature, Trump’s people are still claiming they’re going to win this. He’s not, but anyone can write fiction.
Technically the next date up for contention of the election besides every day from now to eternity is Dec. 23 by which date all of those forms I mentioned above must be received by the “Designated Officials,” which means President of the Senate, the Archivist, the various secretaries of states, and a judge. So Mike Pence et al. It will happen. And if it doesn’t Pence has to order the judge to hop on a plane with the certificate AND ask for another copy to be sent to him via registered mail. So not a lot of wiggle room there.
Jan. 6, 2021 however, I do fully expect to be an amazing nightmare. I’ve enumerated in the above linked articles how this happens and there’s links to the actual law as well. On Jan. 6th a joint session of Congress must assemble to tally the votes. The law does not trust Mike Pence to count his own votes without supervision. Objections may be raised in writing and if they are acceptable the Senate and House will adjourn to their chambers and vote on whether or not to uphold those objections. They get two hours per objection to debate and vote. If both houses decide to uphold the objection those votes can be discarded. Otherwise, whoever first reaches 270 electoral votes wins.
What I’m saying is not that I think Republicans will succeed in seating Trump or driving the vote for President to Congressional delegations by eliminated enough of Biden’s votes. They’d have to get basically all of the Democratically controlled House to be incredibly dumb. But I do think they’ll try. I think they’ll try particularly for those states which were considered swing states in this election, and I genuinely believe they’ll make the process as hellish as possible.
But, this is why you should elect Representatives and Senators not based on whether or not you think they’re cute or want to get a beer with them but based on how willing they are to press on through the absolute slog of legislation.
Anyway, in a month and change we’re going to see Biden sworn in and have our very first lady Black/Asian Vice President.