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tv   Campaign 2020 Preview of Electoral College Count Joint Session  CSPAN  January 6, 2021 12:35pm-1:01pm EST

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they want to hire? are you taking that away from the voters? i think -- i don't know how -- what i would call it except basically inconsistent. it's inconsistent with their own interests. it's inconsistent with their own elections. it's inconsistent with the way democracy is intended to work. it's puzzling. >> the governor of pennsylvania there, tom wolf, along with the secretary of state, reasserting that the november elections in their state, the electoral college vote that happened in pennsylvania, the -- that it was fair and free of fraud. a message to many lawmakers here in washington, some who plan to object to pennsylvania's electoral college votes when the joint session on capitol hill gets under way. we are in the final steps of the campaign 2020 campaign,
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happening on capitol hill today. the electoral count act of 1887 is what requires congress to form a joint session. this is what it says. congress shall be in a session on the 6th day of january, succeeding every meeting of the electors. the senate and house of representatives shall meet in the hall of the house of representatives. it goes on to say, at the hour of 1:00 in the afternoon, on that day, the president of the senate shall be their presiding officer. now here's how the day will play out. the joint session will gather in the house as we just read. it'll be followed by the vice president, pence, calling the session to order. then each state's vote certification is read by a teller. if there's no objection, the process continues. joining us today is laura brown of george washington university where she's the director of the school of garage -- of the graduate school of public
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management. laura brown, talk about this role of congress today overall. why is it that they have to gather for a joint session? guest: well, thanks for having me on this afternoon. yes, we have a process that requires the congress to receive the electoral votes from the states. what we have to remember is that on december 14, the electors met in their respective states, they cast their ballots, and those ballots were certified by their state elected officials and their governor. and those certified ballots then were transmitted to washington and today is the day that those ballots are opened. they are received. and they are counted. to finalize what the electoral college vote tally is. host: congress has the role of counting. what does that entail?
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guest: well, so really what it means is to make sure that each of the electoral ballots that come in are in the appropriate form and that they have been certified by the election official and in fact by the governor of their respective state. there is a process for basically opening these, the tellers then read these, and the vice president who serves in the role as president of the senate announces those votes. and so the process is done on a state-by-sate alphabetical order basis and the objections are only heard if a member from each chamber joins, in writing, to object to a certain state's electoral votes. host: where will the house members be and where will the senators be in the house chamber today? guest: so it's my understanding
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that they will be there in a joint session. i can't tell you that i know where the layout is but what we do know is that they will be there as they are in other forms of joint sessions like the state of the union address. so they will be there in their respective bodies but they will be joined together and then should there be an objection, which we are anticipating some of the republicans will brick hem, we will see the joint session basically dissolve. each chamber will retire to their own chamber. the house will stay in the house. the senators will go back to the senate. there will be a two hour long debate and then there will be a vote in each chamber on the alidity of those objections.
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host: we'll dig into that a little more later on but before we talk about the role of the vice president today, what role will the speaker of the house play? guest: the speaker of the house will preside over the house when -- or i should say if and when the chamber then sort of goes to its own form. in other words, what we have is both the majority leader and the speaker, who will serve as the presiding officer for their respective chambers when those chambers need to debate. in this instance, we have the vice president, who is serving as the presiding officer of the joint session, similar to the way the chief justice does during the impeachment trial in the senate, and really that role is a role to be a ceremonial
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presiding officer to ensure and keep and maintain order. host: what power or authority does the vice president have today? guest: not much. this is an authority that is about sort of maintaining order and ceremonially acting in the role of the receiver, right? they are the receiver of the ballots. and it is true that we had an instance in the past, in 1801, where thomas jefferson, in fact, looked at the ballots that came in from georgia and paused for a moment because he was uncertain as to their form. but he was well aware that there were no contested electoral ballots and that the underlying vote in georgia was in fact for jefferson and burr. and as a result, he accepted those electoral ballots. we do not have any sort of
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indication that there will be two slates of electors because all states have certified the electoral ballots that represent the vote of the people in their states that have been certified by the states. host: president trump earlier today sent this tweet out saying states want to correct their votes, which they now know were based on irregularities and fraud. corrupt process never received legislative approval. all mike pence has to do is send them back to the state and we win. do it, mike, he says. this is a time for extreme courage. can the vice president do that today in his role as presiding officer? guest: no. and it is clear that were he to do that, he would be going against not just the constitution, the 12th amendment, the act of 1887, but he would also be going against
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every principle of republican party politics that has stood for years. this idea of federalism. that the states which are delegated the responsibility from the constitution on the -- for elections, would be upset and upturned. this is not something that can be done. nor should it be done. the states have the purview and the governors have the authority to certify the appropriate electoral ballots. they have done that. they have been transmitted. vice president pence has already put out that he understands that he is the presiding officer, which means his job is to read out those ballots that are opened and received. host: we also have the dynamic of the vice president having to preside over the tally of an
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election by congress that his ticket lost. in this last election. how has this been handled in the past? guest: to a certain degree it's not unusual. when you think about the fact that many vice presidents run for president, we have seen this happen in the past. we watched al gore in 2001 open the ballots and receive the ball lo lots an tally those up. he also sort of squashed some of the objections that were raised from house members because there was no senator to join those house members. and we have in fact seen vice president biden just in 2017, though he was not on the ballot he was still presiding over a democratic loss. and he again sort of squashed the outbursts from some of the
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individuals in the house who wanted something other than what happened. host: let's show our viewers two of the moments. one was what lawyer are was just talking about, in 2001 with vice president al gore and then in 1993 with vice president dan quayle two times in the last 30 years when a sitting vice president presided over the electoral college count in which they lost their own election. [video clip] >> vote for the president of the united states is as follows. the whole number of electors appointed to vote for president of the united states is 538, of which a majority is 270. bill clinton of the state of arkansas has received for president of the united states 370 votes. george bush of the state of texas has received 168 votes. the state of the vote for vice president of the united states
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as delivered to the novet senate is as follows. the whole number of electors appointed to vote for the president of the united states is 538 of which a majority is 270. al gore of the state of tennessee received for vice president of the united states 370 votes. dan quayle of the state of indiana has received 168 votes. this announcement shall be deemed a sufficient declaration of the persons elected president and vice president of the united states. each for the term beginning on the 20th day of january, 1993. and shall be entered together with the list of the votes on the journals of the senate and he house of representatives. members of congress, the purpose for which the joint session of the two houses of congress having been accomplished, pursuant to senate concurrent resolution 1, 103rd congress, the chair declares the joint session dissolved. >> vote for president of the united states as delivered to the president of the senate is
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as follows. the whole number of the electors appointed to vote for president of the united states is 538. of which a majority is 270. george w. bush of the state of texas has received for president of the united states 271 votes. al gore of the state of tennessee has received 266 votes. the state of the vote for vice president of the united states, as delivered to the president of the senate, is as follows. the whole number of the electors i appointed to vote for vice president of the united states is 538. of which a majority is 270. dick chaney of the state of wyoming has received for vice president of the united states 271 votes. joe lieberman of the state of connecticut has received 266 votes. this announcement of the state
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of the vote by the president of the senate shall be deemed a sufficient declaration of the persons elected president and vice president of the united states each for the term beginning on the 20th day of january, 2001, and shall be entered together with a list of the votes on the journals of the senate and the house of representatives. may god bless our new president and our new vice president and may god bless the united states of america. host: a look back at the moment from 2001 and 1993 when the sitting vice president lost their election by had to oversee the tally on capitol hill of the electoral college vote. that is happening again today. our coverage throughout the day with you, we're happy that you joined us and will continue to show you gavel-to-gavel coverage of the house here on c-span and the senate on c span 2. in a few moments they'll be gathering for their joint
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session, that kick office the process. joining us is laura brown of george washington university to talk about how this all works. let's begin with the tellers. there are two senate tellers, two house teller, zoe lofgren of california and rodney davis, republican of illinois. how do -- what role will they play? what will we see them do today? guest: they will actually help to open up the ballots and then in fact tally the ballots. they will present them to the vice president and show him what those ballots were. each of these tellers had been appointed by their respective chambers and by their majority leaders. so this is again part of a ceremonial function but it is part of the process of counting
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the electoral ballots. host: while we're talking today, waiting for this joint session to get under way, outside of the chambers thousands have gathered in washington to rally for president trump and protest against the tally today of the electoral college vote. you can see many have descended on the capitol. there are folks all throughout washington, including down by the white house, and president trump addressed them earlier today and you if you missed that, you can find it on our website, c we showed that live over on c-span2 today. let's talk about if there are objections today when the joint session gets under way, they read alphabetically. before you answer that, i just want to note for our viewers that the speaker of the house will preside, she's set to propre-side other the joint
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session an any house session today, making her way into the house chamber. what you see there is statuary hall and soon we'll see senators making their way to the house chamber as well. we'll watch that. laura brown, so if there's an objection, how will it work? guest: well, so, if there's an objection, it has to be in writing and it has to be signed by both a house member and a senator. we are anticipating there will be at least a few states that will be objected to. arizona being the first one. the states are read out alphabetically and those electoral ballots are then recorded alphabetically. in some ways, i think viewers might be familiar with it in thinking about how the roll call of the states works at the nominations. at the party conventions. right. the state is named.
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the electoral ballots are then reviewed. they are then tallied. objections are then heard. so we are anticipating that there will be one from arizona. there's likely to be one from georgia. as well as pennsylvania. host: exactly. arizona, there's 11 electoral votes there. in georgia, 16. and then in pennsylvania, 20. we've also learned from reporting on capitol hill that senator ted cruz, republican of texas, plans to object to arizona's electoral college votes. senator josh hua lee, republican of missouri, intending to object to pennsylvania. then kelly loeffler, republican of georgia, she plans to make her way back to washington if she's not already here to object to georgia. now she just lost her special
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election race to waff yale warnock in the special election yesterday. on your screen you can see more lawmakers making their way into the house chamber. joint session is supposed to get under way around 1:00 p.m. close to 1:00 p.m. when that happens of course we will bring you gavel-to-gavel coverage of that has there been any other dramatic electoral college moments in the past, laura brown? guest: well, we certainly have seen objections in the past. i mentioned those objections that have only come from one chamber. but we have also had a recent xample of an objection after the 2004 election. we saw a representative join with senator barbara boxer in putting forward an objection on ohio's vote. and at that moment, the joint session essentially dissolved,
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the senators removed back to the senate, each chamber took up the debate and in 2005, that objection was resoundingly rejected. we anticipate that we will see each one of the objections that occur today being rejected within each chamber. we know as we discussed the speaker of the house, nancy pelosi, will be prepre-siding over the house. there's some uncertainty about who will preside in the senate, whether in fact that would still be vice president pence, whether it will be the president pro tem, senator grass lee, or whether we would see majority leader mitch mcconnell preside. but we do know that that debate will take place for two hours in each chamber. and there will be alternating
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points of view, no member can speak for more than five minutes. host: how has that process played out before? guest: well, i mean, the process just plays out where each side essentially has their moment in the sun, right? you have a rotating number of members who are speaking. you have five minutes from essentially one side in favor of the objection, another five minutes from someone against it. it is the case that members can essentially give their time to their colleagues, should they choose to do that. but there is no real provision r the debate to just go on interminably or for members to, if you will, filibuster the entire time. host: speaker nancy pelosi sent out a letter to members saying
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when they make their arguments to these oklahomas it will be a civic lesson on the floor. laura brown, thank you for your time. appreciate it. guest: thank you for having me on. host: and we'll go up to capitol hill now as the house session comes into order.
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the sergeant at arms: madam speaker, the vice president and the united states senate.


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