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Don’t design Electoral College play on Dec 19

Despite a renouned petition on a Change.org website about how a nation’s 538 electorate should opinion on Dec 19, there seems to be small possibility of a tactic changing a new presidential election’s outcome.

richard johnson 536

Richard Mentor Johnson, who survived unreliable electorate in 1837

As of Monday afternoon, some-more than 4.3 million people hermetic an online petition “to make Hillary Clinton President on Dec 19” by job on electorate in a Electoral College to omit their commitments to opinion for Donald Trump.

For now, Trump has 290 votes in a Electoral College, compared with 228 for Clinton. The opinion counting continues in dual states: Michigan and New Hampshire.  But Trump usually indispensable 270 votes to bind a election, that he perceived early on Nov 9.

Regardless of what happens on Dec 19, Republican claimant Trump will turn a inaugurated President on Jan 6, 2017, unless some vastly variable eventuality prevents Congress from counting a Electoral College votes during a corner assembly of Congress, or a President-elect is incompetent to take his promise on Friday, Jan 20, 2017.

In a end, a House and Senate contingency determine on any changes done to a Electoral College opinion during a in-person Electoral College voting that takes place on Dec 19 during 50 state capitals and in a District of Columbia. When a central opinion certificates are non-stop by Congress on Jan 6, a Constitution allows hurdles to “faithless electors” who switch their votes, as prolonged as one member of a House and one member of a Senate determine on a same challenge.  If a plea is upheld, a unreliable elector’s opinion is discarded.

Given that a Republicans control a House and a Senate in a subsequent Congress,  an doubtful probable outcome would be that adequate unreliable electorate put Trump’s total next a 270 votes indispensable to win a Electoral College vote. In that case, a infancy of House and Senate Republicans would nullify those unreliable votes, triggering a run-off fortuitous choosing in a House and Senate that Trump and Mike Pence would win.

Here is how a Constitutional routine works:

1. On Dec 13, any state Governor contingency have a certificate of ascertainment finished. That request lists a names of a electorate for any presidential and clamp presidential candidate, and a series of votes perceived by any candidate.

2. On Dec 19, electorate accumulate in any state and a sovereign district to expel their votes. Any disputes within a states about electorate contingency staid by Dec 13. At any Electoral College voting sessions, a electorate expel their committed votes for boss and clamp president. In 82 cases given 1787, electorate during meetings became “faithless electors” when they voted for another claimant on their own.

3. At this point, any state Electoral College sends a certificate of opinion to a Vice President of a United States Joe Biden, behaving as boss of a Senate. The certificates contingency be perceived by Dec 28 in Washington. The Office of a Federal Register determines a certificates are hermetic and legitimate documents.

4. On Jan 6, 2017, Biden opens a corner event hold in a House of Representatives during 1 p.m. Two sets of tellers open a hermetic opinion certificates in alphabetical sequence by state, and a formula are review into a congressional records. After a formula are announced, Biden afterwards asks if there are objections from any member of Congress. Each conflict contingency be done in essay and hermetic by one House and one Senate member.

5. If there are objections, a House and Senate accommodate separately, with a two-hour extent on a meetings. Each member can usually pronounce for a limit of 5 minutes. When a corner event resumes, a formula of a meetings are announced. Both a Senate and a House contingency determine to reject an Electoral College opinion or votes.

Under a 12th Amendment, if there is no infancy leader in a Electoral College, a House picks a President and a Senate picks a Vice President in fortuitous elections. The tip 3 Electoral College opinion getters for President are put adult for a opinion in a House; a tip dual Vice Presidential possibilities are voted on in a Senate.

There has been one choosing that was shabby by a unreliable solon scenario. In 1836, while Martin Van Buren won a presidential choosing outright, scarcely dual dozen unreliable electorate refused to opinion for Van Buren’s clamp presidential using mate, Richard Mentor Johnson.  On Feb 9, 1837, Congress non-stop a opinion certificates and reliable that 23 electorate in Virginia voted for another candidate, William Smith of Alabama. Johnson degraded a second-place finisher, Francis Granger, in a Senate run-off election.

Scott Bomboy is a editor in arch of a National Constitution Center.

Election Resources on Constitution Daily

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Close choosing causes another Electoral College debate

Explaining how recounts and contested presidential elections work

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