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.
At that moment, the Presidency will be in his hands.— Rasmussen Reports (@Rasmussen_Poll) December 27, 2020
And there is nothing stopping Pence, under the (plenary and unappealable) authority vested in him as President of the Senate, from declining to open and count the certificates from the six disputed states.
Per the 12th Amendment: "[T]he votes shall then be counted[.] ... The person having the greatest number of votes for President, shall be the President[.]"— Rasmussen Reports (@Rasmussen_Poll) December 27, 2020
More here - https://t.co/ehnnu84Lgi
Supporters of President TrumpDonald TrumpFormer Sen. Heller to run for Nevada governor Overnight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod Joint Chiefs Chairman Milley becomes lightning rod on right MORE have made similar arguments that Pence, as president of the Senate, has the power to reject Electoral College results.
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."
No— T. Greg Doucette (@greg_doucette) December 22, 2020
538 electors have been appointed; 270 EVs are required to win now
Pence has no power to "strike" anything. He opens the envelopes, gives the certificates to the tellers, the tellers count
Congress, by separate majority votes of each chamber, can strike EVs as it sees fit https://t.co/HUMW7ULoJ5
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.