GOP-leaning pollster Rasmussen Reports cited Soviet dictator Josef Stalin to encourage Vice President Mike Pence to arbitrarily overturn the results of America’s democratic presidential election.
Rasmussen’s four-part Twitter thread on Sunday laid out steps for Pence to steal the election on Jan. 6, when Congress is supposed to certify the Electoral College vote naming Joe Biden the U.S. president-elect.
The thread quotes Stalin as saying, “Those who cast the votes decide nothing; those who count the votes decide everything.” It then implies that U.S. states somehow manipulated the election results (there is absolutely no evidence to support this) and that there’s “nothing stopping” the vice president from “declining to open and count the certificates from the six disputed states,” referring to certain battleground states that voted for Biden.
It’s uncertain if Stalin actually said the words Rasmussen attributes to him, according to historians. But being a dictator is definitely something Stalin knew.
In that vein, Rasmussen asks why Pence should count electoral votes from “contested states” when that the “Presidency will be in his hands.”
By not counting those votes and arbitrarily disenfranchising millions of American voters, Pence could hand the majority of the remaining electoral votes to Trump, Rasmussen claims, making him the winner of the election.
Yet legal experts say Pence has no power to actually do this, and that Rasmussen’s strategy is based on a misunderstanding of the law. Pence has the right to call on states to submit their electoral votes if they haven’t done so by late December, according to The Washington Post, but he does not have the power to reject any of the votes.
“The vice president is not supposed to control the outcome of the process for counting the electoral votes from the states,” according to both the Constitution as well as the Electoral Count Act, Ohio State University law professor Edward Foley told The Hill. “The vice president chairs the joint session, but does not decide what electoral votes to count.”
Another Twitter user also pointed out the flaws in Rasmussen’s logic, citing the Constitution.
North Carolina attorney T. Greg Doucette, who fields questions about the vote on Twitter, tweeted that Pence “opens the envelopes” with the electoral votes, “gives them to the teller, the teller counts.” Electoral votes can only be struck by a majority of both the House and the Senate, he noted.
Pence could “theoretically” pause the process by refusing to open the envelopes, but counting would resume when he leaves office Jan. 20, according to Doucette.
As for Pence himself, the vice president’s aides told the Post last week that he’s not looking for any “unnecessary drama” on Jan. 6.
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