More than 50 Electoral College members who voted for Donald Trump were ineligible to serve as presidential electors because they did not live in the congressional districts they represented or held elective office in states legally barring dual officeholders.
That stunning finding is among the conclusions of an extensive 1,000-plus page legal briefing prepared by a bipartisan nationwide legal team for members of Congress who are being urged to object to certifying the 2016 Electoral College results on Friday.
“Trump’s ascension to the presidency is completely illegitimate,” said Ryan Clayton of Americans Take Action, who is promoting the effort. “It’s not just Russians hacking our democracy. It’s not just voter suppression at unprecedented levels. It is also [that]there are Republicans illegally casting ballots in the Electoral College, and in a sufficient number that the results of the Electoral College proceedings are illegitimate as well.”
“Republicans like to talk all the time about people voting illegally,” Clayton continued. “We have a list of a bunch of Republicans that allegedly voted illegally in the Electoral College. Pam Bondi is the attorney general of the state of Florida and the Florida Constitution says that you cannot hold two offices. And she holds the office of Attorney General and she holds the office of federal elector in the Electoral College. That is a violation of the law. That is a violation of the Constitution. And the vote that she cast in this election is illegal.”
A joint congressional session is scheduled to ratify the 2016 Electoral College vote this Friday. While there have been calls to challenge that certification—including one women-led effort saying Trump’s victory is due to voter suppression targeting people of color—the analysis that scores of Trump electors were illegally seated, and the additional finding that most states won by Trump improperly filed their Electoral College “Certificates of Vote” with Congress, is unprecedented.
Their research and report grew out of the legal activities surrounding the December 19 Electoral College meeting, where Clayton and others urged Republican electors to reject Trump saying they had a constitutional responsibility to pick a more qualified president.
Clayton is hoping that sufficient numbers of Republicans in Congress will not vote to ratify the Electoral College results, thus depriving Trump of the 270 Electoral College votes he needs to win the presidency. If that transpires, the House would then decide between the three top Electoral College vote-getters—Trump, Hillary Clinton and Colin Powell, he said. But before any of that can happen, there needs to be a formal challenge to ratifying the 2016 Electoral College results in Friday’s joint session of Congress, which is where the research finding that scores of Trump votes were illegally cast comes in.
“We have reason to believe that there are at least 50 electoral votes that were not regularly given or not lawfully certified (16 Congressional District violations and 34 Dual Office-Holder violations),” the executive summary of the Electoral Vote Objection Packet said. “The number could be over a hundred. We urge you to prepare written objections for January 6.”
“The compiling of the laws and evidence in this Electoral Vote Objection Package was completed by a national team of roughly 15 pro bono attorneys, law students, and legal assistants who represent no client or entity,” the summary said. “We are non-partisan—Democrat, Republican, and Independent. We live in different parts of the country, urban and rural, red states and blue states.”