MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota’s 10 electoral votes will be counted by the United States Congress for Joe Biden on Wednesday.
But as promised, some GOP lawmakers plan to challenge the Electoral College count.
Protestors gathered in Washington D.C. on the eve of the event, which is largely ceremonial and typically takes 30 minutes. But Wednesday will be different, according to Hamline University political science professor David Schultz.
“What’s going to happen tomorrow is incredibly unusual in American history, and it hasn’t happened in well over 150 years,” Schultz said.
He says normally the vice president reads the votes state by state and declares a president.
“There’s going to be a challenge to the electoral votes from we think several different states,” Schultz said.
He says Minnesota likely won’t be one of them, but Wisconsin could be contested.
If one Senate and one House member challenge a state’s electoral votes, the House and Senate split up, debate for a few hours, then vote. Both the Senate and House would need a majority vote to throw out the electoral votes in a given state, and would need to do so in enough states to drop Biden below 270 electoral votes.
WCCO asked Schultz about the odds of that happening.
“Zero. There’s no chance it’s going to happen because we know the Democrats in the house are going to vote straight party line,” he said. “It’s not even clear in the Republican-controlled Senate that there are the votes there to do it.”
Vice President Mike Pence will read the votes, and Schultz says he will essentially be the master of ceremonies for what is typically a procedural event. Despite calls from President Donald Trump for Pence to step in, Schultz says the vice president’s hands are tied.
“He doesn’t have any constitutional authority to say, ‘I don’t like these results,’” Schultz said.
He thinks Wednesday could expose factions in the Republican Party, or frustrate the public for time wasting — but it won’t change the outcome.
“It delays things, but ultimately it will not change the fact that Joe Biden will be sworn in as the next president of the United States,” Schultz said.
Wednesday’s count is the final ceremonial step to confirm the new president before Inauguration Day.