President Donald Trump’s efforts to challenge election results in several states are proving ineffective, and Republicans are now hinting that they may turn to the Electoral College as a final route for keeping Trump in power.
In this long-shot scenario, Trump and his team could try to block secretaries of state in contested states from certifying results. That could allow legislatures in those states to try to appoint new electors who favor Trump over Biden.
“It’s basically hijacking the democracy,” one lawyer familiar with the process tells Axios. “They’ve got nothing else; you’d be trying to deny Joe Biden 270.”
The news outlet noted that it would become apparent in the week leading up to Thanksgiving if Trump opts to pursue this course of action, as this is when states will face deadlines to finalize their election results.
Axios also noted that Trump has not explicitly said he would go this route, but “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo each noted on Tuesday that the election results don’t become official until electors cast their votes next month.”
How would the plan play out? Axios explains:
• If a lawsuit successfully stops certification of results in a state, legislators there could step into the void and pick a pro-Trump slate of electors.
• The lawyer, who requested anonymity to speak about the scenario, said Trump’s team now appears to be trying to throw enough dirt at the process for counting late ballots to argue that accurate results can’t be ascertained.
• The next step could be to try to get federal or state courts to enjoin secretaries of state from certifying results.
• Any move to provide an alternative slate of electors could force the first real test of the Electoral Count Act of 1887 and could land before the Supreme Court.
Edward B. Foley, an elections law expert, wrote in The Washington Post last week:
“This is a horrible idea, one that should be morally repugnant to every American. … For a state legislature to reclaim this power after voters have already cast their own ballots would be an even more egregious intrusion into the democratic process.”
Image credit: Official White House Photo by D. Myles Cullen / Public Domain