October 2, 2020
Whether he wins or loses the presidential election, Donald Trump will be able to declare victory in Pennsylvania, if Republican state legislators have their way.
In fact, GOP representatives are planning to challenge the outcome of Pennsylvania’s presidential election, if Trump fails to garner sufficient votes, The Huffington Post reports.
On Wednesday, September 28, Republicans in the state’s House of Representatives passed a resolution (House Resolution 1032) out of the chamber’s Government Committee on a 15-10 party-line vote to create a special “election integrity committee” of three Republicans and two Democrats to investigate the 2020 election. It could possibly certify its own slate of electors for Trump based on phony charges of voter fraud.
In a statement released right after the vote, Keystone State Governor Tom Wolf (D) argued, “The House Republicans are not only walking in lockstep with President Trump to try to sow chaos and put the results of the election in question; they are also taking steps to take the authority to administer elections away from the Department of State. The resolution also attacks the integrity of county election administrators. This is an unprecedented attack on non-partisan election administrators at a time when we should all be doing everything we can to instill confidence in our elections.”
“We heard the president say last night, ‘Bad things happen in Philadelphia,’” State Representative Malcolm Kenyatta (D) said, referencing Tuesday night’s presidential debate between Trump and his Democratic opponent Joe Biden, at the hearing on the resolution. “The reality is, bad things are happening in this committee. This is a bad bill that never should have been brought up.”
Republicans, led by Trump, have been laying the groundwork for this type of move for weeks through lawsuits to limit ballot-counting, claims of potential mass fraud, and more. The Atlantic reported that Pennsylvania Republicans discussed a plan with Trump’s campaign whereby the Republican-controlled legislature would use accusations of voter fraud in order to discard the popular vote as too tainted to count. They could then, theoretically, certify Trump’s slate of electors and send them to Congress for the official Electoral College count on Jan. 6.
Since Governor Wolf would likely certify electors for Biden if he wins the popular vote that the legislature discards, Congress would then be forced to vote on which slate to adopt.
“I’ve mentioned it to [the Trump campaign], and I hope they’re thinking about it too,” Lawrence Tabas, the Pennsylvania Republican Party’s chairman, told the HuffPost about the plan to certify Trump electors.
If the Electoral College vote is close, this scheme could help Trump “win” a second term.
“We wake up and they have this resolution,” House Democratic Leader Dermody said. “It came out of nowhere. My guess is they wanted to have a companion operation going along with their plan to try and fix the Electoral College.”
Research contact: @HuffPost