TAMPA (WFLA) – As states continue to certify their election results, President-elect Joe Biden is closer to becoming the official winner of the presidential election.
While President Donald Trump is still refusing to concede.
Though his campaign has not produced any evidence in court of widespread voter fraud that would overturn the results, he appears to be pursuing another avenue that could subvert the will of the voters.
On Friday, Trump met with state legislators from Michigan, who could help sway the election if they break with law and tradition and send a slate of electors who are loyal to the president. It would be an unprecedented attack on democracy that would go against Biden, the man whom Michigan voters chose to be president by more than 150,000 votes.
Michigan alone could not sway the electoral vote, but if several states join it, they could.
It’s a method seemingly suggested by Gov. Ron DeSantis, in an appearance on Fox News two days after Election Day.
“Especially if you’re in those states that have Republican legislature—like Pennsylvania, and Michigan, and all these places—call your state representatives and your state senators,” DeSantis said. “Under Article II of the Constitution, presidential electors are done by the legislatures and the schemes they create and the framework. And if there’s departure from that, if they’re not following law, if they’re ignoring law, then they can provide remedies as well. So I would exhaust every option to make sure we have a fair count.”
Article II, Section I of the U.S. Constitution lays out how presidents are selected:
“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…”United States Constitution, Article II, Section I
If a Republican state legislature—or several of them, as would be required to overturn the results of this election—were to try and send electors loyal to Trump rather than those selected by the Democratic Party, which won the popular vote, election law experts and political scientists say it would mean breaking their own laws.
“In virtually every state, the state legislature has said that the winner of that state’s popular vote gets the electors in that state,” said Dr. Josh Scacco, professor of political communications at the University of South Florida. “That is codified by law.”
“In states where the president is attempting to challenge these results and have state legislatures intervene, there is no legal mechanism for that to happen,” Scacco said. “For a state legislature to do that, it would be a willful and knowing violation of the laws of that state.”
Gov. DeSantis’s communications director, Fredrick Piccolo, Jr., sent the following statement to 8 On Your Side in response to questions about the governor’s comments:
“The governor pointed out that in the event of a flagrant violation of law, the framers placed a legislative remedy in the constitution. That is all the governor, a former JAG officer and prosecutor, said.”Fredrick Piccolo, Jr., Communications Director for Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Florida)
Most Americans don’t think about it when they cast their ballots, but they’re not really voting for Joe Biden or Donald Trump. They’re voting for the slate of electors that will cast the official ballots for president in their state capitols on December 14.
Some states don’t force their electors to vote for the popular-vote winner in their state, and some “faithless electors” have switched votes in the past. But doing it on a state level would be unprecedented in modern American history.
The next date to watch is Dec. 8. That is the date by which states must certify their electors—and the first date at which we may see an overt challenge to the will of the voters.
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