Mike Pence Announces Whether He'll Reject Electoral College Votes
Vice President Mike Pence presides over a joint session of Congress to count the electoral votes for President at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. (Saul Loeb - Pool - AFP / Getty Images)
By Erin Coates
Published January 6, 2021 at 11:47am
In a letter to Congress Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence said that while he would make sure peoples concerns over the integrity of the election were heard, he believes he does not have unilateral authority to say which Electoral College votes should count.
It is my considered judgement 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.
As presiding officer, I will ensure that any objections that are sponsored by both a Representative and a Senator are given proper consideration, and that all facts supporting those objections are brought before the Congress and the American people.
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Pence released his statement breaking with President Donald Trump prior to the joint Congressional meeting to count electoral votes for President of the United States.
The vice president noted that he shares the concerns of Americans about the integrity of the election and will ensure that these concerns receive a fair and open hearing.
Objections will be heard, evidence will be presented, and elected representatives of the American people will make their decision, Pence said.
When disputes concerning a presidential election arise, under Federal law, is the peoples representatives who review the evidence and resolve the disputes through a democratic process.
He added that our countrys founders created a separation of powers and checks and balances in the Constitution and said giving the vice president the power to decide presidential contests would be entirely antithetical to that design.
I do not believe that the Founders of our country intended to invest the Vice President with unilateral authority to decide which electoral votes should be counted during the Joint Session of Congress, and no Vice President in American history has ever asserted such authority, Pence said.
Instead, Vice Presidents presiding over Joint Sessions have uniformly followed the Electoral Count Act, conducting the proceedings in an orderly manner even where the count resulted in the defeat of their party or their own candidacy.
President Donald Trump continued to assert Tuesday and Wednesday that Pence had the power to decide which votes counted.
The Vice President has the power to reject fraudulently chosen electors, Trump tweeted.
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All Mike Pence has to do is send [votes] back to the States, AND WE WIN. Do it Mike, this is a time for extreme courage! he added.
Other Republican senators pushed back against attempts to undermine the election results, including Sens. Tim Scott of South Carolina and James Inhofe of Oklahoma, The New York Times reported.
To overturn the election results, both the House and the Senate must agree to do so.
Mike Pence needs to learn his history. When Thomas Jefferson was Vice President, he chose not to open and read into the record the Electoral College votes from Georgia, thus making him the winner of the election and new President of the United States.