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Rasmussen quotes Stalin in tweet on US election

Republican-leaning pollster Rasmussen invoked a quote attributed to Soviet leader Joseph Stalin in a Twitter thread Sunday suggesting Vice President Pence could attempt to overturn the results of the presidential election.

“Those who cast the votes decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything. – Stalin,” the pollster tweeted, before going on to outline a scenario in which Pence refuses to certify the results in swing states.

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Supporters of President TrumpDonald TrumpGiuliani used provisional ballot to vote in 2020 election, same method he disparaged in fighting to overturn results Trump gets lowest job approval rating in final days as president Fox News' DC managing editor Bill Sammon to retire MORE have made similar arguments that Pence, as president of the Senate, has the power to reject Electoral College results.

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However, the theory is based on a misreading of U.S. code that simply authorizes the vice president to call on states to submit their electoral votes if they do not do so by the fourth Wednesday in December, according to The Washington Post.

“The Vice President is not supposed to control the outcome of the process for counting the electoral votes from the states. That’s true from the perspective of the Constitution as well as the Electoral Count Act," Edward Foley, a law professor at the Ohio State University, told The Hill in an email.

"The Vice President chairs the joint session, but does not decide what electoral votes to count," he added, noting it "was clearly understood...that the Vice President might be a candidate in the election under consideration, and they did not want this conflict of interest to affect the result.”

T. Greg Doucette, an attorney and Trump critic who frequently fields questions about the president’s capacity to legally challenge the results of the election, tweeted that “Pence has no power to 'strike' anything. He opens the envelopes, gives the certificates to the tellers, the tellers count."

As for the quote attributed to Stalin, frequently invoked as a warning against totalitarianism, it is disputed whether the Soviet leader actually said it. A variation on it appears in Russian in a 2002 memoir by Stalin’s secretary Boris Bazhanov, who attributed it to his former boss discussing a vote by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

The Hill has reached out to Rasmussen for comment.

Updated at 3:09 p.m.