Republican state legislative leaders in several swing states are ruling out a long-shot strategy to reelect President Trump that would involve the GOP-led state legislatures overruling the popular vote and choosing electors that would vote for Trump over President-elect Joe Biden.
However, the Republican majority leaders of the state legislatures in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Arizona, Georgia, and North Carolina indicated to the New York Times this week that they do not see such a scenario occurring.
The Electoral Count Act stipulates that in the event of “failed elections,” state legislatures may step in and appoint electors.
Republican governor Ron DeSantis of Florida last week urged voters in Michigan and Pennsylvania to call their state lawmakers, saying the Republican-led legislatures in those states could “provide remedies” if the states are “ignoring law.”
A spokeswoman for Michigan senate majority leader Mike Shirkey told the Times that the Michigan legislature under state law may not award electors to anyone other than the presidential candidate who wins the popular vote and may not directly select electors.
Meanwhile in Pennsylvania, Republican leaders of both chambers of the state government said last month before the election that the legislature “does not have and will not have a hand in choosing the state’s presidential electors or in deciding the outcome of the presidential election.”
However, Pennsylvania senate majority leader Jake Corman appeared to soften that stance slightly last week when he said that the legislature would have no role in choosing electors “under normal circumstances,” but he noted that the Democratic governor appoints electors.
The Republican state house and senate leaders in North Carolina also stated that the legislature would have no role in choosing electors, and a spokesman for Arizona’s senate Republican leadership indicated to the Times that the legislature cannot change the election results by altering the elector-selection process.
Finally, in Georgia, which Biden flipped to blue this year, Republican leaders indicated the electoral process would likely proceed normally, shutting down calls for a special legislative session to take up election issues.
Biden leads and is the projected winner of several battleground states where Trump has launched several legal challenges of the election results. Trump has so far refused to concede the race and has insisted that widespread voter fraud disrupted the election in Biden’s favor.