Most people who are screaming that the attempt by President Trump to reverse the 306-232 Electoral College vote is unprecedented need only remember 2016.
“Grassroots campaigns have sprung up around the country to try to persuade members of the Electoral College to do something that has never been done in American history — deny the presidency to the clear Election Day winner,” NBC News reported back then.
That quote appeared on Nov. 20, 2016, when the fact that over two two-thirds of Americans said that Democrats did not believe Trump was legitimately elected led to a six-week push to flip the Electoral College after Election Day.
The effort concluded with a TV media blitz before the Dec. 19 Electoral College vote and a claim that the Constitution called for the Electoral College to reject a candidate like Trump. Protesters trying to stop electors from casting their votes chanted “shame” after they did, as shown in this TV report.
Similarly, this year, two-thirds of Republicans do not believe Biden’s election was legitimate. Their attempt to change the Electoral College vote before it occurs on Dec. 14 is in no way unprecedented. In fact, it is a virtual repeat of 2016.
The fact is the country is divided into three almost-equal groups in 2020, just as they were in 2016. About one-third of all Americans belong to each of three groups: One-third believes Trump won both elections and that Trump should not concede; another third believes Trump won in 2016 but that he should concede this year; and the final third believes Clinton won in 2016 and Biden won in 2020.
The political dynamics do not have any bearing on appointed judges — and even Trump- and Republican-appointed judges have thus far rejected these appeals — which has turned the focus to Republican-controlled state legislatures.
So far the Republican governors and other elected officials in both Arizona and Georgia have signed off on their state election certifications, giving their electors to Biden, and most recently the GOP Wisconsin Supreme Court refused to hear the case. This turns the focus to the GOP-controlled legislatures in Arizona, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.
While only about one-third of the voters want their election results reversed, all elected officials need to first win their next primary to be on the ballot, and there the numbers are reversed. With more than two-thirds of people who vote in Republican primaries wanting the results reversed, they might start looking for a replacement for a legislator or judge who does not agree.
But while the politics are in the president’s favor, it seems the timeline is difficult.
Pennsylvania is unique in that its legislature literally ceases to exist at the end of November after an election. The terms of the officials who won the previous election end and the officials just elected last month do not start until after the 20 Pennsylvania electors have cast their votes.
In Arizona, Republicans withstood a ton of Democratic money to hold onto the House 31-29 and the Senate 16-14. Since no Democrats would back undoing the Republican governor’s certification of Biden electors, at least a couple of Republicans in swing districts where they barely won general elections would side with the two-thirds of their general-election voters who believe Trump should concede.
In Michigan, the heads of both the House and Senate said they could not legally replace the Biden electors even after meeting with President Trump at the White House.
However, hearings by Trump lawyers continue in state legislatures with the Dec. 14 Electoral College looming. If Biden wins the Electoral College vote 306-232 that day, then all that is left is challenges such as members of Congress challenging state votes on Jan. 6 — the day after the Georgia Senate elections.
For those who want elections settled on Election Day, it is likely that just a few national standards would avoid a third straight presidential election challenge in 2024.
1. Require voter ID (which polls show is now supported by 80-90 percent of all Americans) in all states, just like is required to enter both the Republican National Convention and the Democratic National Convention to vote for the nominee.
2. Allow states to clean up their voter lists of names that do not match the USPS database, have not voted in years and do not reply to a card from the registrar asking if they still live there to avoid the chance of their names being used to cast illicit votes.
3. Do not mail ballots (like done by Nevada) to every name in the database, which lets anyone who wants to cheat know that millions of ballots are arriving and being thrown away at the same time.
4. For anyone who does request an absentee or mail-in ballot, match their signature against official records before their vote is counted.
5. Allow observers from both parties to sit across the table (not across the room) while a mail-in ballot is opened to see if the person is on a list of dead or moved people and whether they signed the envelope (I’ve done this before and in my experience stopped about 1 percent of mail-in votes that should not have counted).
Taking these five simple steps by 2024 would likely eliminate a repeat of 2016 and 2020.
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