Electoral College Vote Count To Face Unprecedented Opposition

Jan 5, 2021, 11:34 PM

FILE: United States Capitol building (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)...

FILE: United States Capitol building (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The electoral vote count at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 was expected to face unprecedented opposition Tuesday from several republican lawmakers, including two representatives from Utah.

States have already certified their results and the Electoral College announced Joe Biden the winner last month. But on Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence will join both chambers of Congress for a final count of the votes as laid out in the 12th amendment.

It’s an event that happens every four years but goes largely unnoticed.

“Normally it’s ceremonial. Normally it’s mostly a formality,” said Jason Perry, director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics. “We have not seen the process interrupted in what we may see [Wednesday]. That’s the reality of it.”

For lawmakers to object a state’s results requires a signature from a member of the U.S. House and a member of the Senate. The last time that happened was in 2005 when a representative from Ohio objected the count in her own state and got support from a Democratic senator from California.

Congress followed the prescribed process and the count stopped. The Senate and House separated to debate for up to two hours. They voted to accept the Ohio count and President George W. Bush’s re-election. If another state’s results had been objected, that process would have been repeated.

“Even in the instances in which we have had objections at this stage, they’ve gone largely unnoticed by the American people, and certainly haven’t been galvanized and supported by and indeed, advocated for by the candidate who didn’t prevail in the electoral college,” said RonNell Andersen Jones, a law professor at the University of Utah.

This time around already looks different. Several Republican lawmakers — including Reps. Chris Stewart and Burgess Owens — have said they will challenge states’ results. And President Donald Trump stands behind the effort.

“Something that has been largely symbolic in the past now becomes quite consequential – both for now and for the future,” Andersen Jones said. “We’ve not ever had a situation in which there have been what appear to be this large number of states, that will face objection, 15, and we’ve never had a situation where on top of that, we’ve had what appear to be this larger number of members of the House, and particularly this large number of members of the Senate, who are participating in that objection.”

For a state’s vote to be dismissed, majorities in both the House and Senate must support the objection. But that hasn’t happened since the Electoral Count Act was passed more than 130 years ago. And it’s not expected to change this year. Democrats control the house and many Republicans in both houses also oppose challenging the results.

“If it turns out that it’s just objections without substance, people are going to be quite upset about that,” Perry said.

“One side will say you have got to let this play out because the law allows for it. But there is a large number of people … that believe that what’s happening right now is not what the constitution envisioned. Without evidence, it’s really just politics.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News


Eliza Pace

Convicted serial killer charged with murder of Utah woman in 1998

A man, who is a convicted serial killer, has been charged with aggravated murder for the death of a woman in 1998.

1 hour ago

FILE - A person donates blood to the American Red Cross during a blood drive in Pottsville, Pa. on ...

Eliza Pace

Woods Cross Youth City Council holds blood drive to support teen with heart transplant

The Woods Cross Youth City Council is rallying to support a fellow council member who is recovering from a heart transplant.

2 hours ago

Reagan Shiffler was critically injured after being hit by a car at a Spanish Fork intersection and ...

Garna Mejia

‘Reagan’s miracle’: Spanish Fork teen taken off life support, becomes organ donor

The family of Spanish Fork teen Reagan Shiffler, who died on Monday, is speaking out.

2 hours ago

Utah County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue has a new tool to save lives out on the lake this su...

Lauren Steinbrecher

Utah County search and rescue boat is team’s newest lifesaving tool

Utah County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue has a new tool to save lives out on Utah Lake this summer.

3 hours ago

A red Hyundai sits damaged in a West Valley City street after a 3-car crash on June 13, 2024. (West...

Josh Ellis

Police: 18-year-old in custody after allegedly fleeing hit-and-run, causing 3-car crash

An 18-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence after police say she hit two people with her car before fleeing the scene and causing a three-car crash.

5 hours ago

Matt Gephardt speaking to Thelissa Mead about Hyundai not responding to her claims and getting her ...

Matt Gephardt

Get Gephardt helps Utah Hyundai owner seeking reimbursement for overestimated fuel economy

A major automaker was accused of saying their cars get better mileage than they really do, And they promised to pay their customers back. But when one Utah customer wasn't, she decided to Get Gephardt.

14 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light up your home with these top lighting trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for hassle-free computer repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Electoral College Vote Count To Face Unprecedented Opposition