No, Mike Pence Cannot Unilaterally Reject Electoral Votes

Team Webqoof
·2-min read

In another attempt to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s victory, Outgoing US President Donald Trump on Tuesday, 5 January, claimed that Vice-President Mike Pence could unilaterally reject the “fraudulently chosen electors” during Congress’ Electoral College certification process.

However, the claim doesn’t hold much relevance because as per the laid rules, Pence doesn’t have the power to do that as the President of the Senate.

An archived version of the tweet can be found <a href="https://archive.is/wip/zmUxd" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:here" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">here</a>.
An archived version of the tweet can be found here.

According to the procedure followed in a joint session of the Congress, the vice-president (President of the Senate) opens the envelopes from each State, which contains the results, and hands them over to the four members of the House and Senate who then read it out aloud.

Also Read: Lies and Half-Truths: Donald Trump’s Viral Axios Interview

SO, IS THERE ANY PROVISION UNDER WHICH PENCE CAN TAKE ACTION?

Probably not.

The Electoral Count Act 1887, the law establishing procedures for the counting of votes, limits the President of the Senate’s power. Speaking to NBC News, a former Federal Election Commission Chairman Trevor Potter said that one of the points of the Act is to make it clear that the Senate President is a “presider, not a decider”.

Further the 12th Amendment states, “The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted.”

“The person having the greatest number of votes for President, shall be the President,” it further adds. Scholars and experts also point out that the vice-president’s duties are more ceremonial in nature.

Also Read: Trump, Joe Biden Hold Rallies in Georgia Ahead of US Senate Runoff

THEN WHAT HAPPENS IN CASE OF A DISPUTE?

If at least one member of the House and the Senate raise an objection about a state then it must be considered. In such a case, the joint session would be halted and the members can return to their chambers to discuss the challenge. Then a vote takes place to decide on the state’s results.

However, an article in The New York Times mentions that that hasn’t happened since the Reconstruction Era.

So to sum it up, constitutionally or legally, there is no provision following which Pence can unilaterally overthrow Biden’s victory.

Also Read: Trump’s Theory on Mail-in Ballots and Voting is Devoid of Facts

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