88 State Legislators Ask VP Pence to Postpone 'Opening and Counting of the Electoral Votes for at Least 10 Days'
Late Tuesday, 88 state legislators from five battleground states sent a letter to Vice President Mike Pence in which they asked him to postpone the opening and counting of Electoral College votes, currently scheduled to take place during Wednesday’s joint session of Congress, “for at least 10 days.”
When the Electoral College met in fifty state capitals on December 14, 2020, subsequent to the certification of the November 3 election results by officials in each state, 306 Electors cast ballots for Joe Biden, and 232 cast ballots for Donald Trump. The letter reads:
On January 6, 2021, you are statutorily authorized and required under the Electoral Count Act of 1887 to preside over both houses of Congress to count and record the Presidential electoral vote count to elect the President and Vice President of the United States. This congressionally set deadline, however, is not the supreme law of the land, and in fact must not supersede our state legislative authority under the Constitution. Moreover, the deadline is not necessitated by circumstances, especially when it truncates the fulfillment of our constitutional duties and our responsibility to the American people.
“There are extensive and well-founded accusations of electoral administration mismanagement and deliberate and admitted violations of explicit election laws enacted by state legislatures in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin,” the state legislators continued, adding:
Therefore, we write to ask you to comply with our reasonable request to afford our nation more time to properly review the 2020 election by postponing the January 6th opening and counting of the electoral votes for at least 10 days, affording our respective bodies to meet, investigate, and as a body vote on certification or decertification of the election. This action can be completed prior to the inauguration date, as required by the Constitution.
The letter was organized Got Freedom, a 501 (c) (4) non-profit election integrity watchdog group that also organized a Saturday phone call with 300 state legislators that President Trump addressed.
“The letter was signed by 88 lawmakers, with more signing on by the hour, and similar letters have been signed by other legislators in the swing states, bringing the total to well over 100 total signatories,” Got Freedom said in a statement released late Tuesday.
“These elected officials are not asking Mike Pence to overturn the election results, and they’re certainly not trying to subvert our democracy,” Phill Kline, spokesperson for Got Freedom, said. Kline also serves as the director of The Amistad Project of the Thomas More Society, a 501 (c) (3) non-profit public interest law firm.
“Rather, they’re simply requesting that they be allowed to perform the role required of them by the Constitution — an opportunity that in some cases has been actively denied by their own governors,” Kline added.
Under the Twelfth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, Vice President Pence, as President of the Senate, has a specific constitutional role to play at Wednesday’s joint session of the 117th Congress, convened for the purpose of determining whether or not to accept the Electoral Votes submitted by the Electoral College to Congress as part of the process of selecting the next president.
The Twelfth Amendment states:
The Electors shall meet in their respective states and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and of all persons voted for as Vice-President, and of the number of votes for each, which lists 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 for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing 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.
The state legislators represent five states where the outcome of the election is mired in controversy: Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Arizona. All five of states have Republican-controlled state legislatures. None of these state legislatures have convened to decertify the November 3 election results in their respective states.
Here is a list of signators to the letter, organized by state and position: