Congress Meets Wednesday To Certify Electoral College Votes

Tuesday, January 5th 2021, 5:28 pm


All the eyes that are on Georgia Tuesday will shift to the nation's capital Wednesday, where a potentially ugly showdown is looming over a joint session of Congress that is expected to finalize Joe Biden's electoral college victory.

What is typically a pro forma session to count up the states' electoral votes is likely to feature significant drama, just as supporters of President Trump are expected to create some drama on the streets of downtown Washington.

Businesses are boarding up again, as they did just before the election, with owners worried that Wednesday's planned Stop the Steal protests could turn violent. Supporters of President Trump could be seen all over the city Tuesday, and as they raise their voices tomorrow, so will the Vice President raise his during a joint session of Congress.

Four years ago, then-Vice President Biden presided over the session, where the electoral votes certified and submitted by each state are read aloud by 'tellers', Republican and Democratic lawmakers chosen specifically for the occasion.

Members may challenge a state's results, as a small group of House Democrats did four years ago, but the challenge must be signed by both a member of the House and Senate in order for there to be debate and a vote. Following the 2016 election, Democrat Hillary Clinton conceded, so no Senators were willing to join in the challenges.

"Well, it is over," said Mr. Biden in 2017, banging the gavel and setting off a roar of applause and cheers from Republicans.

This year, more than a dozen Senators, including Oklahoma's James Lankford, have pledged to join House members in their protests of as many as six states' results. This will lengthen the process, as it means there will be debate, but rejecting a state's votes would require majority votes in both the House and Senate chambers. With the Democrats controlling the House and numerous Senate Republicans criticizing their colleagues for contesting the count, there is essentially no chance any of the challenges will succeed.

It will then fall to Vice President Pence, as President of the Senate, to announce the final count, just as it fell to Mr. Biden in 2017.