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UMKC professor weighs in on Electoral College vote objections

Posted at 4:59 PM, Jan 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-05 20:22:06-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A professor at University of Missouri-Kansas City is explaining what people can expect during Wednesday's Electoral College vote count.

More than a dozen Republican senators are expected to lodge objections to President-elect Joe Biden's win, including Sens. Josh Hawley from Missouri and newly sworn-in Roger Marshall from Kansas.

Dr. Beth Vonnahme, associate professor of American politics at UMKC, said Wednesday's ceremony will be unusual.

"Typically, Congress only plays a role when there’s a tie in the Electoral College or when somebody doesn’t get a majority of the Electoral College votes," Vonnahme said. "If both the House and the Senate uphold the objection, then the state's Electoral College votes are thrown out."

That's unlikely to happen for two reasons, Vonnahme said.

"One, the House is controlled by the Democrats and it’s a straight majority vote on that objection so there’s very, very little chance, I mean, there’s always a positive probability something could happen, but it’s a very, very limited chance that the House would vote to uphold any objection," Vonnahme said. "This is also unlikely because there’s enough Republicans that have come out in support of the Electoral College results and have said that they’re going to vote to certify. The Republicans that are objecting don’t even have a majority in the Senate as well."

Vonnahme said that while both the House and the Senate have the right to lodge objections, it should be done based off evidence of their claims.

"I think the concern that a lot of constitutional scholars and legal experts have is after (the) legal case that President Trump’s legal team has put forward, there’s no evidence to support the allegations," Vonnahme said. "Even in the statement that senators, including Josh Hawley, put together about why they’re objecting, there’s no discussion of evidence, there’s just discussion of allegations."

Vonnahme said the event seems to be more of "political theater."

"If they don't have the evidence, then I have to question the intent of their activities, and it makes me think that this is really a symbolic move to demonstrate loyalty to the president as opposed to a real concern about the election results," Vonnahme said.

The Electoral College vote count is usually a short event. Vonnahme said it could come to a close on Wednesday night. She doesn't anticipate the process will last beyond Thursday.