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EXPLAINER: How Congress will count number Electoral college votes

WASHINGTON (AP) — Wednesday’s congressional joint session to count number electoral votes has taken on brought significance this 12 months as congressional Republicans allied with President Donald Trump are pledging to try and undo Democrat Joe Biden’s victory and subvert the need of the American individuals.

The Republicans — a dozen senators and many greater condominium contributors — are citing Trump’s repeated, baseless fees of widespread fraud. they are saying they are going to formally object to the consequences, forcing votes within the Republican-run Senate and the Democratic-controlled condo with the intention to well-nigh certainly fail.

There turned into now not widespread fraud within the election, as has been established via quite a number election officers and by using William Barr, who stepped down as lawyer usual ultimate month. Neither Trump nor any of the lawmakers promising to object to the count have offered credible evidence that might alternate the result.

essentially the entire felony challenges put forth by way of Trump and his allies were pushed aside by using judges. The Supreme court, which includes three Trump-nominated justices, has also denied requests to hear a pair of instances aimed toward invalidating the outcome of the election in key battleground states.

The congressional assembly on Jan. 6 is the closing step in reaffirming Biden’s win, after the Electoral school formally elected him in December. The meeting is required by way of the charter and contains a few diverse steps.

a look at the joint session:


beneath federal legislation, Congress have to meet Jan. 6 to open sealed certificates from every state that comprise a list of their electoral votes. The votes are brought into the chamber in special mahogany containers used for the occasion.

Bipartisan representatives of each chambers read the results out loud and do an authentic count number. The president of the Senate, vice chairman Mike Pence, presides over the session and proclaims the winner. The session starts off at 1 p.m. EST.


The charter requires Congress to satisfy and count number the electoral votes. If there’s a tie, then the apartment decides the presidency, with each and every congressional delegation having one vote. That hasn’t came about when you consider that the 1800s, and Biden’s electoral win over Trump turned into decisive, 306-232.


both chambers meet collectively midday to count the votes . If the vp cannot preside, there is precedent for the Senate seasoned-tempore, or the longest-serving senator within the majority celebration, to lead the session. That’s currently Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa.

The presiding officer opens and gifts the certificates of the electoral votes in alphabetical order of the states. The appointed “tellers” from the residence and Senate, members of both parties, then read each and every certificates out loud and record and count number the votes. on the conclusion, the presiding officer declares who has received the bulk votes for both president and vice president.


After a teller reads the certificates from a state, any member can get up and object to that state’s vote on any grounds. however the presiding officer will no longer hear the objection unless it’s in writing and signed by each a member of the condo and a member of the Senate.

If there is this sort of request, then the joint session suspends and the residence and Senate go into separate classes to accept as true with it. For the objection to be sustained, each chambers should comply with it by using an easy majority vote. if they do not both agree, the fashioned electoral votes are counted with out a changes.

The final time such an objection became considered became 2005, when Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones of Ohio and Sen. Barbara Boxer of California, both Democrats, objected to Ohio’s electoral votes, claiming there have been vote casting irregularities. both the apartment and Senate debated the objection and simply rejected it. It changed into handiest the 2nd time this sort of vote had occurred.

who’s expected TO OBJECT?

Dozens of residence Republicans and a smaller group of GOP senators are expected to object to the count number from some swing states where Trump has alleged fraud, regardless of the consensus of nonpartisan election officials and even Trump’s former attorney conventional that there become none. none of the members have introduced precise facts and none of them objected to the swearing-in of congressional lawmakers who received election on the identical ballots.

within the Senate, Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley was the first to say he would be a part of with the condo Republicans. On Saturday, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas introduced a coalition of eleven further senators who vowed to vote towards unspecified state electors on Wednesday until Congress appoints an electoral commission to automatically habits an audit of the election effects. Hawley and Cruz are both among abilities 2024 presidential contenders.

The challenges have split the party. Senate Republican chief Mitch McConnell has advised his colleagues now not to object, asserting last month on a personal call that the vote could be “awful.”

a few different Senate Republicans have criticized the effort as well, together with Texas Sen. John Cornyn and South Dakota Sen. John Thune, the No. 2 Senate Republican. Thune noted last month that any objections will go down “like a shot dog” within the Senate.

On Sunday, Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse pointed out the challenge is “‘dangerous for the country and unhealthy for the birthday celebration.”

what is PENCE’S position?

Pence’s position is essentially ceremonial and he has no power to affect the influence, despite Trump’s needs to the contrary.

The role of the vice chairman as presiding officer is regularly an ungainly one, because it might be for Pence, who should be charged with asserting Biden’s victory — and his personal defeat — once the electoral votes are counted.

Pence won’t be the primary vp put in an uncomfortable condition. In 2001, vice president Al Gore presided over the counting of the 2000 presidential election he narrowly misplaced to Republican George W. Bush. Gore had to gavel several Democrats’ objections out of order. In 2017, Biden presided over the count number that declared Trump the winner. Biden also shot down objections from residence Democrats that did not have any Senate help.


The joint session is the last official opportunity for objections, past court docket instances that have to this point proven ineffective for Trump and his group.

“I consider there comes a time should you ought to recognize that, despite your most excellent efforts you’ve been unsuccessful,” Cornyn talked about previous this month.


AP Congressional Correspondent Lisa Mascaro contributed to this report.