“How Congress and coronavirus could quash Trump’s Electoral College gambit”

Very helpful Politico article on the Jan. 6 state of play:

President Donald Trump’s last-gasp bid to overturn his 2020 election defeat appears doomed on Jan. 6, when Congress is set to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.

But the byzantine process by which Congress counts and validates the Electoral College results has left gnawing uncertainty about precisely how the final act in Trump’s undemocratic drama will play out.

The law that guides the proceedings, the Electoral Count Act — passed in 1887 to address the disastrous election of 1876 — is vaguely written and full of gaps that have perplexed constitutional scholars for a century. Now, Trump and his allies are working to exploit those gaps to try to muscle their way to a second term.

There’s little doubt that Biden will be certified as president by the end of the day on Jan. 6 or in the wee hours of Jan. 7, but Trump’s allies could cast a cloud over the process — grinding it to a halt, attempting to force votes on alternate slates of Trump-supporting electors and raising untold objections to the proceedings that could disrupt the traditionally ceremonial event.

But the lack of clarity also create enormous opportunities for those who wish to limit or prevent the day-long spectacle that Trump’s allies are promising. That could include both Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has been working to tamp down GOP support for challenges in recent days — drawing Trump’s fury.

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