Pence Says He Does Not Have The Power To Accept Or Reject Votes — “No VP In American History Has Ever Asserted Such Authority”
Vice President Mike Pence said on Wednesday that he will not reject the Electoral College votes as Congress meets in a joint session today to certify the election results in favor of Democrat Joe Biden.
The Republican VP explained his decision reiterating that although he shares the concerns of “millions of Americans about the integrity of this election” it is not in the gambit of his authority as vice president to “unilaterally accept or reject votes.”
“After an election with significant allegations of voting irregularities and numerous instances of officials setting aside state election law, I share the concerns of millions of Americans about the integrity of this election,” Pence said in a statement.
“The American people choose the American President, and have every right under the law to demand free and fair elections and a full investigation of electoral misconduct.”
He noted that as presiding officer, he will do his duty “to ensure that these concerns receive a fair and open hearing” in Congress, saying that objections will be heard, evidence will be presented, and the elected representatives of the American people — which are the lawmakers will be the ones to make their decision.
Electoral Count Act As Basis In All Previous Elections
The Republican vice president, who earlier received pressure from both sides to object or proceed with the votes certification, explained that Congress has always deferred to the Electoral College votes to count the election results for President.
“During the 130 years since the Electoral Count Act was passed, Congress has, without exception, used these formal procedures to count the electoral votes every four years,” Pence said.
He went on to say that his team “studied the Constitution thoroughly” given the “contentious nature” of the 2020 election — but conceded that contrary to the claims of some sectors, the vice president “does not have the power to unilaterally accept or reject votes.”
“The Presidency belongs to the American people, and to them alone. When disputes concerning a presidential election arise, under Federal law, it is the people’s representatives who review the evidence and resolve disputes through a democratic process,” he said.
Pence further explained that the Founding Fathers designed the Republic “based on separation of powers” and checks and balances under the Constitution “skeptical of concentrations of power.”
“Vesting the Vice President with unilateral authority to decide presidential contests would be entirely antithetical to that design,” Pence continued.
“Ceremonial Role” In The Joint Session
“I do not believe that the Founders of our country intended to invest the Vice President with unilateral authority to decide which electoral votes should be counted during the Joint Session of Congress, and no Vice President in American history has ever asserted such authority,” he added.
VP Pence went on to say that history showed how former vice presidents presiding over Joint Sessions “have uniformly followed the Electoral Count Act, conducting the proceedings in an orderly manner even where the count resulted in the defeat of their party or their own candidacy.”
“It is my considered judgment that my oath to support and defend the Constitution constrains me from claiming unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not,” the vice president said, noting that his role is largely “ceremonial.”
Nonetheless, he said that he welcomes efforts by lawmakers “to use their authority under the law to raise objections and present evidence” of election irregularities and voter fraud that took place on November 3.
“As presiding officer, I will ensure that any objections that are sponsored by both a Representative and a Senator are given proper consideration, and that all facts supporting those objections are brought before the Congress and the American people.”
“Today it will be my duty to preside when the Congress convenes in the Joint Session to count the votes of the Electoral College, and I will do so to the best of my ability.”
Addressing those criticizing Republicans that earlier publicly announced they are going to object to the Electoral College vote certification, the vice president recalled how Democrats have set the precedent for such in the past.
“Those who suggest that raising objections under the Electoral Count Act is improper or undemocratic ignore more than 130 years of history, and fail to acknowledge that Democrats raised objections in Congress each of the last three times that a Republican candidate for President prevailed,” he said.
Ahead of January 6, President Donald Trump tweeted that VP Pence could play a role to overturn the election results.
“If Vice President @Mike_Pence comes through for us, we will win the Presidency. Many States want to decertify the mistake they made in certifying incorrect & even fraudulent numbers in a process NOT approved by their State Legislatures (which it must be). Mike can send it back!” he said.
Meanwhile, after Pence’ announcement that he will be unable to stop the certification, President Trump slammed him for being weak and not standing up for the country and the US Constitution.
“Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!,” he said.
Share Your Thoughts
We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, profanity, vulgarity, doxing, or discourteous behavior. If a comment is spam, instead of replying to it please hover over that comment, click the ∨ icon, and mark it as spam. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain fruitful conversation.