States certify their results after reviewing disputed ballots, conducting post-election audits, and double-checking numbers for accuracy. Federal, state, and local election officials from both political parties have said there was no widespread fraud or irregularities in the 2020 election.
The idea is that if there’s no certification, then Republican-run state legislatures in a few key states could appoint pro-Trump slates of presidential electors, even though Biden won the popular vote in their state.
“This is why they want to delay certification, because delaying certification could be a predicate to arguing that the state didn’t make a choice, and that the legislature should step in,” said Rick Hasen, a CNN contributor and an election law professor at the University of California, Irvine.
Senior GOP lawmakers in key states like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin have already rejected this idea, and some states have laws explicitly ruling out this option.
Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff, a Republican, told reporters earlier this month that lawmakers don’t have the legal grounds to appoint their own electors. While a spokesperson for Pennsylvania Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, another Republican, also poured cold water on the idea of appointing electors that didn’t support the winner of the statewide vote.
“Our legislation, election code makes it clear we have nothing to do with selecting electors,” spokesperson Jennifer Kocher said, adding that Corman is not considering appointing pro-Trump electors and has never considered that as a possibility.
“Every day that passes makes it legally and politically less likely that Trump can pull off this crazy attempt to subvert the will of the people,” Hasen said. “The system is kind of on autopilot.”