by Sharon Rondeau
(Dec. 9, 2020) — Trump 2020 campaign senior advisor Jason Miller told Sean Spicer of Newsmax’s “Spicer & Company” Wednesday evening that when the 50 states’ presidential electors meet to cast their votes for president in what is known as the Electoral College, several states will send “multiple slates of electors.”
A presidential candidate must accrue 270 electoral votes, which emanate from each state’s popular vote, with electors expected to cast their votes at the Electoral College in accordance with that outcome.
When Spicer asked Miller to elaborate, he declined to do so but said that the exact number of states which will be sending more than one set of electors is still developing.
Article II, Section 1, clauses 1- 3 of the U.S. Constitution state:
The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same Term, be elected, as follows
Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.
The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by Ballot for two Persons, of whom one at least shall not be an Inhabitant of the same State with themselves. And they shall make a List of all the Persons voted for, and of the Number of Votes for each; which List they 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 President of the Senate shall, in the Presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the Certificates, and the Votes shall then be counted. The Person having the greatest Number of Votes shall be the President, if such Number be a Majority of the whole Number of Electors appointed; and if there be more than one who have such Majority, and have an equal Number of Votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately chuse by Ballot one of them for President; and if no Person have a Majority, then from the five highest on the List the said House shall in like Manner chuse the President. But in chusing the President, the Votes shall be taken by States, the Representation from each State having one Vote; A quorum for this Purpose shall consist of a Member or Members from two thirds of the States, and a Majority of all the States shall be necessary to a Choice. In every Case, after the Choice of the President, the Person having the greatest Number of Votes of the Electors shall be the Vice President. But if there should remain two or more who have equal Votes, the Senate shall chuse from them by Ballot the Vice President.
Miller broke the news in the context of the anticipated December 14 date when presidential electors are scheduled to cast their votes in their respective state capitals. That date, he said, is not immovable, citing an instance in which Hawaii sent two slates of electors in the race between John Fitzgerald Kennedy and Richard Nixon in 1960.
The only remaining hard-and-fast dates in the electoral calendar, Miller said, are “January 6th,” when Congress is presented the electors’ votes and counts them; and “January 20th, when the next president is sworn in.”
Publicly, states with Republican-majority legislatures where the race between Democrat Joe Biden and President Trump was reportedly close have appeared reticent to commit to sending Republican electors to the Electoral College. In Arizona on December 4, Speaker of the House Rusty Bowers issued what appeared to be a conclusive statement indicating that the legislature is unable to change Biden electors to those who would support Trump; in Georgia, Republican Gov. Brian Kemp refused to call a special session of the Republican-led legislature to investigate reported voting abnormalities and possibly tens of thousands of fraudulent ballots resulting from a lack of signature-matching required by state law.
One county in Georgia has refused to certify its results, Newsmax also reported Wednesday, although Kemp certified the statewide election twice notwithstanding admitted “significant errors made in several counties, including: Floyd, Fayette, Douglas, and Walton.”
On Twitter and in a press conference on coronavirus vaccines Tuesday, Trump has continued to say he won the election handily except for the “fraud” he said was committed, particularly in the “swing” states of Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Nevada, and Georgia.
On Tuesday, constitutional scholar Joseph DeMaio wrote at The Post & Email that despite facing possible fines in accordance with a recent Supreme Court decision, presidential electors can cast their votes on principle rather than politics or party. Similarly, scholars Leo Donofio and Ren Jander have presented arguments that state legislatures, and in Jander’s case, even individual legislators, have complete authority to appoint electors regardless of the outcome of the popular vote.
According to media reports, Biden earned 306 electoral votes and Trump 232, which assumes electors will vote in accordance with the reported popular vote results in their states.
Late Tuesday night, the State of Texas filed suit at the Supreme Court against Wisconsin, Georgia, Michigan and Pennsylvania, with 17 states joining on Wednesday, according to media reports.