Democratic candidate Joe Biden could win the US presidential election, but his Republican counterpart, President Donald Trump, is challenging the vote count in four of the important and pivotal states. So what could happen?
Trump’s campaign is claiming – without providing any evidence – of electoral fraud, and calling for an end to the vote counting in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Georgia and Michigan.
We discussed what this issue means with a number of legal experts, and we asked them what would happen if these disputes and disputes continued for a long time.
Wouldn’t we have known the result now?
Yes and no. Usually, American news networks announce the victory of one of the candidates if the numbers indicate that one of them is making progress that cannot be beat. This usually occurs in the early hours of the day following the day of voting.
But these are not the final official results, but rather projections and predictions. As for the final result, it takes several days to be announced, and this is always the case in the US presidential election.
But the sheer volume of votes cast by mail voters this year means that the counting process will take longer than usual, especially since a number of important swing states did not allow the counting processes to begin before voting day.
Therefore, electoral bodies in these states must count all votes on the day of the vote, and the postal vote counting process usually takes longer than counting the votes cast by voters in person due to the necessary verification requirements.
If the competition is too close to predict its outcome, and in the event that both candidates refuse to acknowledge the loss, it is normal and normal for the counting process to continue, says Matthew Weil, the election project manager for the two major political research center.
There are obstacles that preceded the voting
These elections have been marred by conflicts from the start.
Even before Tuesday’s vote, more than 300 lawsuits had been filed in 44 states over postal and early voting.
These cases centered on a wide range of issues, including the deadline for sending and receiving votes, the signatures of witnesses required to vote by mail, and even the nature of the envelopes used.
Republican-run states said the restrictions were necessary to curb fraud, but Democrats said they were nothing but attempts to prevent voters from exercising their national rights.
What appeals did Trump issue?
Trump’s campaign said it had called for a recount in Wisconsin “due to the irregularities noted” on Tuesday.
It is not clear when the recount will start, because this process does not usually begin until after the officials of the various provinces finish reviewing the votes. The deadline for this part of the process in force in the state of Wisconsin is the 17th of this month.
Richard Brevault, a professor at Columbia Law School, says a recount took place in Wisconsin in 2016 as well, and that “only about a hundred votes changed.”
He added, “The recount is not a way to challenge the legitimacy of the votes cast. Rather, it is just a way to verify the correctness of the accounts.”
Trump won that state in the 2016 election by a very narrow margin of 10,700 votes. On the fourth of this month, his election campaign announced that it had filed a lawsuit to stop the counting processes in this state, despite the fact that the responsible authorities had finished counting 96 percent of the votes informally.
Thousands of votes are still waiting to be counted, many of them from regions historically voting for Democrats, but US news networks predict Biden will win the state this year.
The appeals filed here revolve around a decision issued by the state to count the postal votes sent before the day of the vote, but did not reach the polling stations until a maximum of 3 days after that day. Republicans are calling for the appeal of this decision and reconsideration.
Matthew Weil says he is deeply concerned about the dispute because the US Supreme Court was unable to reach a decision on it before the election date – and before the new member, Conservative Judge Amy Barrett nominated by Trump, joins the bench.
He says, “In some of their responses they indicated their willingness to consider the issue, so I think there is the possibility of canceling some votes that sent a mail before voting day but did not arrive before Friday. I think that would be a wrong decision, but I also think that it will be a possible decision from the point of view. Legal consideration. ”
But Will adds that this possibility will be of little importance unless the voting results are “very close,” and points out that state election officials have sent letters before voting day to urge voters to deposit their absentee votes at the polling stations instead of mailing them. “So I guess the number of canceled votes will not be large if this possibility is correct,” he said.
Professor Prevault also points out that votes that arrive at late dates are counted separately, and he says that Biden can advance and win even without counting these votes, so he thinks that there is no need for judicial appeals.
But Trump’s election campaign declared her victory in this state, despite the presence of more than a million votes yet to be cast. None of the major US news networks have yet predicted the winner in Pennsylvania.
Republican officials in this state and the Trump campaign have filed a lawsuit in Chatham County demanding a halt to vote counting, claiming problems with the absentee vote count.
State Republican Party Secretary David Schaeffer tweeted that party observers saw a woman “mixing more than 50 ballot papers with a pile of unsorted absentee ballots.”
Prosecutors demanded that the judge count the number of absentee votes that arrived at the polling stations after the polls closed on Tuesday evening.
Is there aCan the matter reach the Supreme Court?
Trump claimed early in the morning of Wednesday that there was fraud in the elections without providing any evidence of that, adding, “We will resort to the Supreme Court, and we want all voting to stop.”
But voting had already stopped, as polling stations had closed their doors, despite the ongoing debate over late votes as in Pennsylvania.
“The Supreme Court does not have any special powers to prevent lawful screening,” Will says.
Professor Brivolt also says that election campaigns may challenge close results in important states, but “must nevertheless have arguments that raise constitutional concerns” in order to refer them to the Supreme Court.
“There are no standard contexts for raising election disputes and appeals to the Supreme Court,” he said. “This is a rare occurrence and must be related to a very serious issue.”
In the event that the election result is contested, this requires attorneys to file cases in state courts. The judges of these courts then, if they agree to the appeals, order a recount. Subsequently, Supreme Court judges can be asked to annul decisions of state courts.
In some areas, recounts can start automatically if the results are too close – as was the case in the 2000 election in which George W. Bush ran against Democratic candidate Al Gore.
How long would these things take?
Since these are presidential elections, there are strict federal and constitutional deadlines they work to in order to reach a final result as quickly as possible:
- The states have a five-week period from November 3rd to reach a decision on the winning candidate. This deadline is called “safe harbor” and it falls this year on the eighth day of December.
- In the event that the state (or states) are unable to determine the outcome of their elections by that date (and we must remember at this point that the president is being tested by the electoral college and not by the general popular vote), Congress can order that the votes cast by its voters not be counted. In the final outcome.
- Electoral College voters meet on the 14th of December in their states to cast their votes for the president.
- In the event that it is not possible to agree on a majority winner by January 6, Congress will decide the outcome of the so-called conditional elections.
- The House of Representatives chooses the new president, while the Senate approves the vice president, which opens the door to the possibility that the president and vice president are from two competing parties.
- Each of the states in the House of Representatives has one vote, and the winner of the nomination of 26 delegations becomes president.
But Will points out that “before this conclusion is reached that the House and Senate nominate the new president, a lot of problems must pile up” – in other words, the elections must lead to a result so close to be believed.
Why might some states refrain from? aIs it the name of the winner?
What would happen if states failed to agree on who wins their electoral college votes? This could happen if one of the two parties argued that the end result was inaccurate or that the election was rigged.
The important contested states – North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin – are currently governed by divided powers, with Democratic governors and House of Representatives dominated by Republicans.
It is possible, in this case, that the members of the House of Representatives separate from the governors of their states and present their nominations for the members of their constituencies to Congress (this happened in 1876).
At that point, Congress must come to a decision on which caucus members to count on – those nominated by state representatives or those nominated by their governors.
If the House and Senate agree, there won’t be a problem. But if they could not agree, we would be in an unprecedented situation – although some experts say that federal law favors governors ’candidates.
The US Constitution states that a new presidential term must start by January 20, no matter what.
“The new president should be sworn in before noon on January 20,” Will says. “And if that doesn’t happen, we must resort to our succession plan.”
Will indicates that the House of Representatives may not agree on the new president, while senators agree on the identity of the vice president.
If the House of Representatives cannot resolve this dispute by the day the new president takes office, the vice president chosen by the Senate becomes president, in which case the speaker of the House of Representatives (the place now occupied by Democrat Nancy Pelosi) will assume the powers of the vice president.
Have we seen anything like this drama in the past?
To this day, the 2000 elections in which Bush Jr. ran with Gore were the only elections that were decided by the Supreme Court in favor of Republican Bush.
And that election saw fierce competition between Bush and Gore, and the results were very close. Gore won the majority of the vote on the day of the vote, but the result was more convergent for the electoral college. The final result was based on the 25 electoral college votes in Florida.
The convergence of results led to a recount, and Gore’s lawyers demanded that it be done manually in four counties, prompting Bush’s attorney to appeal. Several weeks later, the Supreme Court ruled in Bush’s favor according to the party affiliation of its judges (4 judges vs. 5). Gore conceded defeat, and Bush moved to the White House.