U.S. election: what if Trump loses to Biden, but refuses to concede?
She said she made the planning public after US President Donald Trump recently claimed that if the election ended in Congress he had the advantage over Democrat Joe Biden as Republicans control a few more delegations in bedroom.
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“It’s sad that we have to plan this way, but that’s what we need to do to make sure the elections aren’t stolen,” Pelosi said in the letter on Sunday.
She said Trump had shown that he “will do whatever it takes to stay in power.”
Pelosi’s strategy is one of many scenarios being considered ahead of the election as Trump and Biden clash this week in the first presidential debate. Early voting is already underway in several states.
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Tensions are high and rather than seeking calm, the president is casting doubt on the nation’s ability to conduct legitimate elections, even though there is little evidence of electoral fraud. Trump tweeted new allegations of problems with the ballots on Monday, but without real examples. “A lot of things are already going very badly,” he says.
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Meanwhile, states are bracing for an increase in mail-in ballots, with voters avoiding polling stations due to the potential health risks of congregating in crowds during the coronavirus pandemic. The tabulation of results could go on for days on end, leaving the country exposed to foreign interference or other campaigns trying to influence the result.
Senator Angus King, independent from Maine, said Americans should treat election day as a “half-time” while waiting for full results.
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Normally, Americans vote for the president, and states certify the results through the Electoral College, which is made up of state voters. A joint session of Congress meets on January 6 to count the votes of the Electoral College and announce the winner. Typically, the decision was resolved well in advance, usually on election night.
But if the Electoral College is deadlocked or unable to achieve a majority result, the matter is referred to the House as a “contingent election”.
Each state’s congressional delegation, made up of the newly elected House lawmakers, casts a vote to determine the presidential outcome, according to the House History website. The new president is due to be inaugurated on January 20.
Democrats are in no serious danger of losing their majority in the House. But as of now, Pelosi explained, Republicans have a “razor thin” margin – 26 for state delegations, compared to 22 for Democrats. Two states are essentially linked.
“We have to achieve this majority of delegations or prevent the Republicans from doing it,” Pelosi wrote.
Only a few elections have been decided in the House, and none since the 1800s.
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Pelosi said on MSNBC Monday that she had been working on various scenarios for some time, but that it became public once Trump started talking openly about relying on the House to win the election.
Lawmakers in Congress have been quietly playing around with scenarios for weeks.
“We anticipate all eventualities, I can tell you that,” Rep. Andy Levin, D-Mich., Said earlier this month.
© 2020 The Canadian Press