On Wednesday, January 6th, at 1 PM, the Senate and the House of Representatives will convene jointly to view the counting of electoral votes.
Sen. Hawley, (R, Missouri) and a few members of the House of Representatives announced they will object to the count of the electoral ballots.
Can Hawley and company prevent the formal affirmation of Biden as the elected president? Can they force the election into the House of Representatives?
On December 14th the Electors met in the respective states and voted by ballot, Article II of the Constitution states, “they [the Electors] shall sign and certify and transmit sealed to the seat of the Government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate [the Vice President]. The President of the Senate [the Vice President], in the Presence of the Senate and the House of Representatives, open all certificates and the votes shall then be counted. The person having the greatest number of votes shall be the President.”
The election of 1876 was chaotic, corrupt and for a while it appeared that the civil war might resume.
The Republicans, the party of Lincoln, dominated the Congress and butted heads with Andrew Johnson, the Vice President who succeeded Lincoln upon his assassination in April, 1865. The post-war position of the Republicans, called Reconstruction, included federal troops stationed throughout the South, officers of the Confederacy barred running for office and the growth of the Klu Klux Klan. Johnson refused to implement legislation and the Republicans impeached Johnson and failed to replace him by one vote.
Grant was elected in 1872 and a year later the nation fell into a deep depression. A Supreme Court decision (Slaughterhouse Cases) eroded the impact of the Fourteenth Amendment, the corruption within Grant’s demonstration resulted in Democratic victories in the 1874 midterm elections. The public enthusiasm for Reconstruction waned and in the 1876 election, Rutherford B Hayes, the Republican candidate and Samuel Tilden, the Democratic candidate, and governor of New York State, was extremely close. The results of the election was hotly contested, Tilden was one electoral vote short of a victory.
From November until early March the parties battled, a commission was created and in a “backroom” deal Hayes, the Republican, was “elected” as President and troops were removed from the South. For the remainder of the 19th century Supreme Court decisions and the creation of Jim Crow laws the 14th and 15th amendments crumbled away.
Read the story of the 1876 election here
The Electoral Count Act of 1887 attempted to remedy the inadequacies of the Article II provisions of the Constitution.
The law is quite specific,
Congress shall be in session on the sixth day of January succeeding every meeting of the electors.
The Senate and House of Representatives shall meet in the Hall of the House of Representatives at the hour of 1 o’clock in the afternoon on that day, and the President of the Senate shall be their presiding officer. Two tellers shall be previously appointed on the part of the Senate and two on the part of the House of Representatives, to whom shall be handed, as they are opened by the President of the Senate, all the certificates and papers purporting to be certificates of the electoral votes, which certificates and papers shall be opened, presented, and acted upon in the alphabetical order of the States, beginning with the letter A; and said tellers, having then read the same in the presence and hearing of the two Houses, shall make a list of the votes as they shall appear from the said certificates; and the votes having been ascertained and counted according to the rules in this subchapter provided, the result of the same shall be delivered to the President of the Senate, who shall thereupon announce the state of the vote, which announcement shall be deemed a sufficient declaration of the persons, if any, elected President and Vice President of the United States, and, together with a list of the votes, be entered on the Journals of the two Houses.
Upon such reading of any such certificate or paper, the President of the Senate shall call for objections, if any. Every objection shall be made in writing, and shall state clearly and concisely, and without argument, the ground thereof, and shall be signed by at least one Senator and one Member of the House of Representatives before the same shall be received.
When all objections so made to any vote or paper from a State shall have been received and read, the Senate shall thereupon withdraw, and such objections shall be submitted to the Senate for its decision; and the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall, in like manner, submit such objections to the House of Representatives for its decision; and no electoral vote or votes from any State which shall have been regularly given by electors whose appointment has been lawfully certified to according to section 6 of this title from which but one return has been received shall be rejected, but the two Houses concurrently may reject the vote or votes when they agree that such vote or votes have not been so regularly given by electors whose appointment has been so certified.
In other words, electoral votes certified by a state may not be rejected.
Vice President Pence is the presiding officer.
Pence can ask the Senate and the House to “withdraw” and decide upon the validity of the “objections.”
Majority Leader McConnell has urged Senator Hawley not to object, beyond urged, threatened; Hawley might be seeking the anti-McConnell/pro Trumper leadership role on the right in the Senate.
Hawley could “reserving the right to object,” make the Trump case, and, not actually object; a common action in the Senate
If he does “object” Republican colleagues would be forced to make public votes, either losing pro Trump voters or moderate Republicans, in either case weakening them future elections.
Sometime in afternoon or evening of January 6th the presiding office will declare Joe Biden President and Kamala Harris Vice President of the United States of America.