A report apparently submitted to Congress says that at least 50 Electoral College voters for President-elect Donald Trump were illegally seated either because they didn’t live in the relevant Congressional District, or because they already held office. Now anti-Trump groups are pushing for those electors and their votes to be disqualified.
“The number could be over a hundred,” the brief reads. “There were also a lesser number of Democratic electoral votes that there not regularly given or lawfully certified. We urged you, our representatives, to prepare written objections for January 6th.” The argument is that if there are enough objections to the electoral votes, Trump might not have the necessary 270 votes required to become President.
Activists, usually liberals, have been trying to keep President-elect Donald Trump from taking office on January 20 because they argue he’s simply unqualified for the job. This brief is getting backed by the anti-Trump group, Americans Take Action. According to the Hamilton Electors group, which has also been promoting the challenge of electors, the report was written by a group of attorneys, but a representative from the organization told LawNewz.com that the attorneys are not affiliated with them. One of the attorneys, Arlaine Rockey, said in an interview conducted by the Hamilton Electors, that 16 Republican electors should not have been eligible because they did not live in the congressional districts that they are representing.
“The other main objection,” Rockey said, “had to do with a person holding a dual office.” Many state constitutions say that if a person is elected to one office, they cannot hold another office. Because electors are elected to their position during the general election, Rockey said, anyone who already holds an office cannot be an elector.
Trump supporter and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi was a presidential elector despite already holding office. LawNewz.com reached out to her office for a response. Rockey also mentioned that a Florida State Senator was listed as an elector.
Most electors tend to be party loyalists because of the way they’re chosen. They are required by state law to follow their state’s popular vote results. Only two GOPers (Texans, incidentally) refused to vote Trump, while eight electors in other states actually tried to choose people besides Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
In a conversation with LawNewz.com, Rockey said that she has been on the phone with Senators trying to convince them to object to the electors that she and her colleagues believe are ineligible. But, she admits, “I don’t know for sure if it’s going to happen.” Rockey said, “We knew it it was going to be a long shot,” but she hopes that Congress takes this opportunity to stop Trump. If Trump falls short of 270 electoral votes, the House would get to choose the President from the top three electoral vote-getters, who are Trump, Clinton, and Colin Powell, who received three votes despite not even running. Rockey says it’s up to Congress as to whether they want to listen to the report and raise the objections to the electors, allowing for someone other than Trump to take office. “Do they want to continue with Trump, or form a coalition [with Democrats] … and vote for General Powell?” She believes that enough Republicans and Democrats could agree on Powell as an alternative to Trump or Clinton.
The Republican-dominated Congress is scheduled to meet Friday afternoon in a joint session to count and certify the final electoral votes.
Note: This article has been updated to included comments from attorney Arlaine Rockey given to LawNewz.com.