A historic electoral showdown is taking place in Congress Wednesday, and CBN News will carry Live coverage of it beginning at 12:30 pm Eastern on the CBN Newschannel. CBN News coverage of the events taking place inside the US Capitol can be seen right here on the CBNNews.com homepage and on the CBN News app as well as the CBN News YouTube Channel well into the evening.
While this is a historic day in Washington, it is not unprecedented. In just the past three elections that Republicans won the White House, Democrats offered similar challenges to the Electoral College in Congress. In fact, one case saw a Democrat senator joining House Democrats in an attempt to overturn electors in the state of Ohio when Bush won in 2004.
What Will the Process Look Like in Congress?
Today’s joint session of Congress begins at 1:00 pm Eastern. According to the 12th Amendment of the Constitution, Vice President Mike Pence serving in his role as President of the Senate will preside over the proceedings. The Electoral College vote count of the states will start in alphabetical order of states, beginning with Alabama. Pence will open a sealed envelope with electoral votes from each state and read it aloud.
The 12th Amendment says that the Vice President shall “open the certificates and the votes shall then be counted. The person having the greatest number of votes shall be President.”
But scores of lawmakers have vowed to contest the results in key states where significant questions were raised about the validity of the vote, including Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
Objections are expected beginning with Arizona. Once an objection is made in writing by a member of the House and the Senate, each body retires to its chamber to debate for up to two hours and to vote on the objection.
Each lawmaker has only five minutes to speak. The House is expected to take up the allotted two hours of debate because it has more members planning to object. Each chamber votes on the objection and then recesses to meet together again.
All 50 states certified their electoral college votes last month. Other electors from the contested states may also appear on President Trump’s behalf.
Fox News’ Chad Pergram notes that “it’s common for the House and Senate to prepare what’s called a ‘concurrent’ resolution which could establish certain parameters for handling Electoral College disputes this time around. Such a resolution is often non-controversial. But, that resolution could carry extra weight or have the potential to upend or truncate this year’s Electoral College certification. But both the House and Senate must first agree to that resolution.”
“Under the Electoral Count Act, the Vice President and Congress are supposed to only pay attention to the certificate which is signed by the governor of a state. But there is the potential for deference by the Vice President as to which slate of electors he should recognize if there are multiple certificates from an individual state,” Pergram explained.
This grueling session could go on into the wee morning hours of Wednesday or longer — even stretching into a couple of days.
But at the end of the session, there is going to be a decision. And as Pergram noted, “Everyone in Congress is going to be on the record as either upholding the Electoral College Results – or rejecting them.”