Electoral College votes will be officially counted Wednesday in a joint session of Congress, where scores of Republicans are expected to object to votes being counted from numerous states that Joe Biden won amid pressure from President Donald Trump.
The objections, inspired by Trump’s false claims of a “rigged” election, threaten to turn a typically procedural half-hour event into an ugly daylong spectacle that’s already divided Republicans. Trump has also put a spotlight on Vice President Mike Pence, who will preside over Wednesday’s proceedings in a largely symbolic role, to essentially overturn the results.
The count is expected to begin at 1 p.m. ET. Electors already cast their votes on Dec. 14th, and Biden, who got seven million more votes than Trump in the presidential election, won 306 to 232.
Trump, who has falsely claimed that he won the election, was speaking at a pro-Trump rally near the White House ahead of the vote count.
“We will never give up. We will never concede. You don’t concede when there is theft involved. Your country has had enough. We will not take it anymore,” he said, telling the crowd he’d go with them to Capitol to help make their “voices heard.”
Over a dozen Republican senators and 100 congress members are expected to object to results from up to six states from being included in the final count, despite those votes having been certified by the states and Trump’s numerous legal challenges being dismissed by numerous courts.
Trump blasted those who aren’t going along with his bid to overturn the election results as “weak Republicans.” “You’ve got a lot of great ones but you have a lot of weak ones,” he said.
The objections are expected to fail because majorities of both chambers have to vote to sustain an objection. If one chamber votes to toss the state’s votes and the other doesn’t, the objection is dismissed. The Democrats have a majority in the House and can block any objection, and while Republicans have a slim majority in the Senate, dozens of Republican senators have already said they would not back their colleagues’ effort.
Regardless, each objection to a state’s vote will result in the vote count being halted and then two hours of debate in each chamber before they vote. That means the vote count could go on into the morning.
Since the votes are counted in alphabetical order, Arizona is expected to be the first state to be objected to. Biden won there by over 10,000 votes.
Trump is also urging Pence to either throw out states’ votes or somehow send them back to the states, which he does not have the power to do. He kept the pressure on the vice president at Wednesday’s rally.
“Mike Pence has to come through for us,” he said. “If he doesn’t that will be a sad day for our country.”
Congress to begin electoral vote count amid protests inside and outside of Capitol The British Journal Editors and Wire Services/ NBC News.