5 things to know about the Electoral College challenge

Some Republicans set to object to certifying election
U.S. Capitol
Posted at 11:49 AM, Jan 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-06 12:48:45-05

1. What is it?

The Electoral College is a compromise between the election of the president by a vote in Congress and election of the president by a popular vote of qualified citizens.

It consists of selecting the electors, the meeting of the electors where they vote for president and vice president and the counting of the electoral votes by Congress.

The Electoral Count Act of 1887 requires Congress to convene and review the Electoral College results.

2. When does this happen?

The electors in each state, including Florida, met and voted Dec. 14 to finalize the 2020 election and formally choose Joe Biden as the nation's next president.

Congress will convene at 1 p.m. Wednesday to certify Joe Biden's victory, the last step of the election process.

3. Who are the Republicans objecting to certifying the election?

The final process of certifying the winner of the presidential election is a historically ceremonial process. However, it has gained more attention this year after President Trump's repeated, baseless charges of widespread voter fraud.

Sen. Josh Hawley and Sen. Ted Cruz are among a dozen senators and many more House members, including local U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, citing Trump's claims and have said they will vote no to certify the election results.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Sen. Rick Scott have stayed tight-lipped on how they will vote Wednesday.

4. What happens if there is a challenge?

Then House and Senate adjourn to consider the objection. These sessions can only last for a maximum of two hours.

If there's another formal objection to a different state's vote, the process is repeated.

The vote count could go into Thursday if more than one state's votes are challenged.

The challenges will force votes in the Republican-run Senate and the Democratic-controlled House that will almost certainly fail.

5. Can Vice President Mike Pence overturn the election?

No. In his role as vice president, Mike Pence is the Senate president and presides over Wednesday's session. Trump has been pressuring Pence not to certify the election. However, Pence's role is ceremonial.

Political science professor Charles Zelden of Nova Southeastern University said Pence's power is limited.

Joe Biden is scheduled to be inaugurated Jan. 20.