Pence: Constitution ‘Constrains Me’ From Rejecting Electoral Votes

Pence: Constitution ‘Constrains Me’ From Rejecting Electoral Votes. By Zachary Stieber at The Epoch Times.

Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday said that he doesn’t believe he has the “unilateral authority” to decide between competing slates of electors.

“It is my considered judgment that my oath to support and defend the Constitution constrains me from claiming unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not,” Pence said in a statement released just before a joint session of Congress began.

As president of the Senate, Pence is presiding over the session. The purpose of the session is to count electoral votes.

Under the Electoral College system, voters choose electors. Those electors then vote, almost always for the candidate that received the most ballots in their state. Congress meets in the January after an election to tally the votes.

Typically a rote affair, this session has taken on heightened significance after seven states sent two certificates to Washington, one for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and one for President Donald Trump. Biden won the states but Trump has said he was cheated.

Trump and some Republicans argue that Pence has the “exclusive authority” to reject electoral votes for Biden and choose the ones for Trump. A lawsuit asking a court to support that view was rejected by a district judge. An appeal was dismissed, though the plaintiffs earlier Wednesday asked the Supreme Court to intervene.

Trump has repeatedly called on Pence to act. If Pence “comes through for us, we will win the Presidency,” Trump asserted in a tweet early Wednesday. He also said his vice president could send electoral results back to state legislatures.

Pence, though, described his role as presiding officer as “largely ceremonial.”

But he noted that members of Congress can act by objecting to electoral votes. Over 100 Republicans plan to do so.

Obviously Pence’s role is just as a ceremonial functionary. If a Vice-President could decide which electors to accept from a state, there wouldn’t be any point in having an election, would there?

However, Trump and his lawyers were only asking for Pence to delay the certification by ten days, to give them time to inspect some voting machines they finally had access to and to give them more time to persuade some state legislatures to decertify their results.

If Pence was on Trump’s side, he would have told Trump what he was going to to do — and not leave Trump publicly musing about what Pence was going to do.