Republican leaders in four crucial states won by President-elect Joe Biden have said they will not participate in a legally questionable scheme to turn their state’s voters to vote for President Donald Trump. Their comments shut down a half-finished plot, which some Republicans offered as a last chance to keep Trump in the White House.
Republican lawmakers in Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin all said they would not interfere with the choice of voters, who ultimately cast the ballots guaranteeing the candidate’s victory. Many indicated that such a move violates state law and the people’s vote.
“I don’t see, other than finding some kind of fraud – which I haven’t heard of – I don’t see in any serious way how we address a change in voters,” said Rusty Bowers, the president of the Arizona Republican House of Representatives. He says he’s inundated with emails demanding that the legislature intervene. “They are authorized by law to choose according to the people’s vote.”
The idea loosely includes Republican-controlled legislatures that reject the popular vote for Biden in their states and Trump voters. While the endgame was unclear, it did seem to hinge on the expectation that the conservative-leaning Supreme Court would resolve any dispute over the move.
Even so, it has been promoted by Trump allies, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, and it is an example of misinformation and false claims that cast doubts among Trump supporters about the fairness of the vote.
The roots of the theory lie in the fact that the United States Constitution gives state legislatures the power to decide how to choose electors. Each state has already passed laws that delegate this power to voters and assign electors to any candidate who wins the state on Election Day. The only opportunity for the state legislature to subsequently engage with the electorate is a provision in federal law that permits this in the event of an actual election “failure”.
If the election outcome is unclear in mid-December, at the deadline for the nomination of voters, the Republican-controlled legislatures in those states could declare Trump the winner and appoint voters who support him. Or so the theory goes.
Legal experts note that the problem is that the election outcome is by no means clear. Biden won all countries involved. It is hard to argue that the election “failed” when Trump’s Department of Homeland Security stated that it had not been tampered with and was “the safest in American history.” No fraud or widespread issues were found in the vote count, showing Biden leading Trump with more than 5 million votes nationwide.
The Trump campaign and its allies have filed lawsuits designed to delay ratification and possibly provide evidence of a failed election. But so far, Trump and the Republicans have had little success – the courts have dismissed at least 10 lawsuits in the 10 days after the election. The most important thing that remains is to ask the courts to prevent Michigan and Pennsylvania from certifying Biden as the election winner.
But legal experts say it is impossible for courts to ultimately prevent these states from appointing voters by the deadline in December.
“It will take the most bizarre and unjustified intervention by the courts this country has ever seen,” said Daniel Lang of the Campaign’s Legal Center. “I haven’t seen anything in any of those lawsuits that are of any kind of merit – not to mention enough to delay the appointment of voters.”
Even if Trump wins one battle in court, there is another major hurdle: Congress will be the final arbiter on voter admission from the Republican legislatures. If the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives and the Republican-controlled Senate cannot agree on who will accept and who becomes president, the presidency will pass to the next person in the line of succession at the end of Trump’s term and Vice President Mike Pence on January 1. 20. Speaker of the House of Representatives will be Nancy Pelosi, who is a Democrat.
“If this is a strategy, I don’t think it will work,” said Edward Foley, a professor of constitutional law at Ohio State University. “I think we’re in a fantasy world here.”
But unfounded allegations of fraud and corruption have circulated widely in conservative circles since Biden won the election. Asked this week whether state lawmakers should nullify the official results, Republican Senator Lindsay Graham said, “Everything has to be on the table.”
DeSantis urged Pennsylvania and Michigan residents to contact state legislators and urge them to intervene. “Under Article 2 of the constitution, presidential elections are carried out by legislative assemblies and the plans they set and the framework. And if there is a departure from that, if they do not follow the law, and if they ignore the law, then they can provide solutions as well.
Even so, Republican lawmakers appear to be steadfast. The top Republican legislative leaders, Senator Jake Corman and Representative Kerry Benninghoff, wrote in a statement: “The Pennsylvania General Assembly has no and will not have a role in selecting the state’s presidential electors or in determining the outcome of the presidential election.” October Editorial. On Friday, their offices said they were sticking to the statement.
The Republican leader of the Wisconsin Assembly, Robin Voss, has long rejected the idea, and his spokesperson, Kate Bayer, said he stuck to that position Thursday.
In Michigan, legislative leaders say any interference would be against state law. Although the Republican-controlled legislature is investigating the election, Senate Majority Leader Mike Sherky told WJR on Friday, “Our analysis is not expected to lead to any change in the outcome.”
Associated Press authors Scott Bauer in Madison, Wisconsin, David Eggert in Lansing, Michigan, Mark Levy in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and Alana Durkin Reich in Boston and Deep Richman in Washington, DC contributed to this report.