Republican leaders in four critical states won by President-elect Joe Biden say they will not participate in a dubious plan: get voters in their region to vote for the president Donald Trump in the Electoral College. His statements de facto frustrate a plot that some Republicans presented as the last chance to keep Trump in the White House.
Republican state legislators in Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin have said they will not intervene in the selection of voters who cast the final votes that guarantee the victory of one of the two candidates. This would violate state law and the popular vote, several pointed out.
“I don’t see it unless we find some kind of fraud – which I haven’t heard of. I do not see us seriously addressing a change in the voters, “said Rusty Bowers, president of the Arizona House of Representatives, with a Republican majority, who said he received many emails asking for the intervention of the legislature. “They are obliged by law to choose according to the popular vote.”
The idea loosely implies that GOP-controlled chambers reject Biden’s victory in the popular vote in their states and choose to select voters who back Trump. Although the end of the plan was unclear, it seemed to rest on the expectation that a conservative-leaning Supreme Court would be in charge of settling any dispute over this measure.
Even so, it has been promoted by allies of Trump like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, and is an example of the misleading information and false claims that fuel skepticism of the president’s supporters about the integrity of the election.
The theory is based on the fact that the US Constitution gives state parliaments the power to decide how their constituents are elected. All states passed laws that delegate this power to voters and appoint voters to back the most voted candidate in their region on the ballot. The only opportunity for the legislature to intervene in this process is a provision in federal law that allows it if the elections “fail.”
If the result of the elections is not clear in mid-December, when the deadline for appointing those who will make up the Electoral College expires, the Republican-controlled chambers in those critical states could declare Trump as the winner and choose members to back them. Or so the theory goes.
The problem, according to legal experts, is that the result of the elections is by no means up in the air. Biden won in all those states in question. It is difficult to claim that the election “failed” when the Department of Homeland Security itself reported that there was no manipulation and that they were the “safest elections in the history of the United States.” Additionally, there have been no findings of widespread fraud or counting issues, which gives Biden an advantage of more than five million votes in the national total.
The campaign Trump and its allies have filed lawsuits seeking to delay the certification of the winner and provide possible evidence of a failed election. But so far they have had little success: at least 10 were rejected by the courts in the 10 days after November 3. The major ones still standing are asking the courts to prevent Michigan and Pennsylvania from officially giving Biden a winner there.
But legal experts point out that it is impossible for the courts to prevent those states from appointing their constituents before the December deadline.
“It would take the most unjustified and bizarre intervention by the courts this country has ever seen,” said Danielle Lang of the Campaign Legal Center. “I have not seen anything in any of those complaints that is worthwhile, even less to delay the appointment of voters.”
Even though Trump Whether just one of the lawsuits wins, there is another major hurdle: Congress would have the last word to accept the voters nominated by Republican legislatures. If the House of Representatives, controlled by Democrats, and the Senate, in Republican hands, do not agree on which voters to accept and who is proclaimed president, the White House would be occupied by the next person in the line of succession at the end of the term of Trump and his vice president, Mike Pence, on January 20. And that would be Democrat Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House.
“If it’s a strategy, I don’t think it’s going to be successful,” said Edward Foley, a professor of constitutional law at Ohio State University. “I think we are in the realm of fantasy.”