Congress will count the Electoral College votes of the 2020 election in a process that starts at 1 p.m. Usually the ceremony is a purely ministerial, drama-light affair. But a band of President Trump loyalists have discarded their constitutional duties and plan to drag out the procedure by filing objections to the results of a few key battleground states that went for Joe Biden.
The anti-democratic gambit has no chance of overturning Biden’s win. For an objection to result in a state’s results being reversed, both the Democratic House and the Republican Senate would have to vote in its favor. Not only will the House not support the objections, but the Senate Republicans joining the House extremists in making the objections face fierce resistance from members of their own caucus.
Nonetheless, it’s looking like it will be a long day and night in the U.S. Capitol. There will be some procedural pomp and circumstance to kick off the counting, which happens in a joint session of Congress in the House chamber. Vice President Mike Pence, in his role as President of the Senate, will then go through in alphabetical order the certificates coming from each state containing its election results. After he opens and presents each certificate, it will be handed to the so-called “Tellers” of the House and Senate — expected to be the chairs and ranking members of the House Administration and Senate Rules committees — who count and record the votes.
Among the states that the Trump loyalists plan to object to is Arizona, which Biden won by more than 10,000 votes, so the first interruption will come fairly early in the afternoon. Once the objection is made and confirmed to have the support of a member of both the House and the Senate, the joint session will be suspended. The Senate will return to its chamber, and each body will debate the individual objection separately and simultaneously.
Watch the counting of the votes below: