Expect a surprise tomorrow

Don’t be surprised if the count of state electors don’t quite go how the media is telling everyone to expect. Alex Macris explains that the process is considerably messier, and far more flexible, than the vast majority of people understand.

In America, presidential electors get their votes counted even when they…

  • didn’t even send a certificate of the vote! (GA in 1800)
  • represented territories that weren’t even states! (IN in 1817, MO in 1821, MI in 1837)
  • weren’t certified as properly appointed by their state governor! (TX and MS in 1873)
  • didn’t cast their votes on the prescribed day! (WI in 1857)
  • didn’t certify that they voted by ballot! (MS in 1873)
  • were officers of the federal government (CN, NH, and NC in 1837)
  • were replacements for missing electors arbitrarily appointed by the remaining electors without even a majority vote! (TX in 1873)
  • didn’t follow the requirement to vote for one person not resident of their own state! (GA in 1873)

So, with that history of hijinks laid out, let’s imagine a hypothetical.

Imagine that Georgia’s 16 Republican presidential electors decide to gather in Atlanta on December 14th to cast their vote for Trump. However, only half show up, the others backing out due to concerns of safety or refusal to act against the popular vote. The remaining 8 electors just pick 8 more trusty Trump Republicans to replace the missing electors (as happened in Texas in 1873). That takes an extra day, so they end up voting one day late (as happened in Wisconsin in 1857). They don’t have a certificate from their state governor, so they send their vote without it (as happened in Texas and Mississippi in 1873). And off it goes to the President of the Senate.

Let’s assume this happens in some other states, too, such that it’s enough to change the outcome of the election if these votes are counted.

Now what? History, as we have shown, has a clear answer: Ten out of ten times, when electors broke the rules, the votes were still counted no matter how irregular they were. Always, every time. The rules didn’t matter.

It’s long, but definitely read the whole thing. As for tomorrow, well, I think tomorrow is going to be very entertaining.