A new report by The Atlantic holds that the Trump Administration is preparing for ways to alter the outcome of the election should Joe Biden win the popular vote in key battleground states. In such a scenario, the bombshell report claims, the Trump Administration could ask Republican-controlled state legislatures to appoint electors to their state’s electoral college who would ignore the popular vote and cast their vote for Trump instead.
This would technically be able to occur under the Constitution. The Constitution describes the process of selecting electors to the Electoral College as “in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct”.
However, historically, states have ceded their electors to vote along the same lines as the majority of voters within their borders. To not do so would be to bring the legitimacy of the electoral process into question.
In the Atlantic report, the publication interviewed Republican leadership to confirm the veracity of the story. According the to report, one member of the party leadership told them “the Trump campaign is discussing contingency plans to bypass election results and appoint loyal electors”.
The plan would involve denying the official election results, specifically those that were mailed in.
Trump has been sowing the seeds of doubt regarding the legitimacy of mail-in ballots for months. Since the start of the pandemic, he has railed against mail-in ballots, claiming that they are insecure and rife with voter fraud.
There is no evidence that this claim is true.
From 2000 to 2014, there have only been 31 credible accusations of voter impersonation. This is among over one billion votes cast in that time period, showing a distinct lack of voter fraud in the US.
According to the Constitution, the president is selected by the Electoral College. This is why Republicans have won two of the last five elections despite losing the popular vote. In fact, Republicans remain unpopular on the national level. The average American disagrees with the average Republican on literally every major issue.
“The push to appoint electors would be framed in terms of protecting the people’s will,” the unnamed Trump Campaign worker told the Atlantic. “The state legislatures will say, ‘All right, we’ve been given this constitutional power. We don’t think the results of our own state are accurate, so here’s our slate of electors that we think properly reflect the results of our state.’”
By doing so, the Trump Administration would be openly discarding democracy in the eyes of the majority of Americans. Such a move worries Constitutional scholars, many of whom worry it would be the end of free and fair elections in the United States.