Could a Ballot Fight Lead to Pelosi as President?
Here we are arguing over Biden and Trump and the real threat could still be in front of us. While it’s a long shot, there is the possibility that Nancy Pelosi could be the president if the votes are contested for too long following the general election.
Trump has joked periodically that if the election isn’t settled by the end of the year, we end up with Pelosi as president.
It would take quite a bit for her to be able to move into the White House, but it really is possible if there’s a major debacle on the votes coming out of the Electoral College come November.
The Constitution places Congress in charge of deciding which candidate will win from all 50 states. That must mean that Congress approves the certificates of election. Normally, that’s not an issue. But this is 2020 and, therefore, contingencies must be examined carefully.
Biden and Trump are polar opposites and can lead to a close presidential race. There’s also a pandemic that’s causing more ballots to be mailed than usual. Sprinkle in civil unrest across the country and it’s a recipe for disaster.
There’s an obscure law from 1887 known as The Electoral Count Act. It states that by December 14, the candidate must be established, ensuring that there’s plenty of time to deal with counting votes and mail-in ballots from the election day of November 3. The law was all because of a disputed election that occurred in 1886 between President Hayes and Samuel Tilden.
The law has a lot of cryptic text to it. December 14 means what, exactly? States have to stop counting or they can continue to count the ballots? What happens?
Well, Congress would have to sort it out in January. It would be a new Congress. Assuming that the Dems regain control of the House and the Dems control the Senate, it would make for an interesting turn of events when they take seat on January 3. However, VP Pence would still be president of the Senate as his term won’t expire until January 20.
The 12th Amendment of the Constitution reads clearly: “the President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall be counted.”
There could be a lot more power in the hands of Pence come January. But, how would Pelosi end up as the president?
It is possible for a Representative to object to the electoral votes of a particular state. The objection must be in writing and signed by both a member of the House and also a Senator. This happened in 2000 when Representative Maxine Waters wanted to object to the votes from Florida. VP Al Gore asked if she had a Senator to back her up. She did not.
She yelled, “The objection is writing! And I don’t care!”
Gore responded calmly with “the chair will advise that the rules do care,” in which applause was heard.
Had she had a Senator to raise objections as well, things may have gone very differently.
And such a thing could definitely happen when Congress reconvenes in January after an election of many disputes.
If there are too many objections and neither Trump nor Biden can get a confirmation of receiving the majority of votes, Congress hits an impasse.
When there’s an impasse, the 12th amendment identifies that the House elects the president.
In a contingent election, there’s only one vote per state. As for how the delegation breakdown looks, it won’t be known until after the election.
The longer it takes, the closer we tick to January 20, when it’s time to inaugurate a president. The 20th Amendment along with the Presidential Succession Act will kick in – the terms of Trump and Pence expire, leaving the Speaker of the House to assume the position. She’d be acting president, but president, nonetheless.
Even the Dems are fairly unanimous that they don’t want to see Nancy Pelosi step in as president. It would be a nightmare for everyone. It’s why the election needs to run as smoothly as possible.