House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Congress was “ready” and “prepared” to determine the results of the 2020 presidential election should they be disputed amid reports President Donald Trump was planning on claiming victory should he appear ahead on Election Day.
Speaking to NPR on Monday, the California Democrat said about the rare chance of Congress having to determine the results of a contested election: “We understand what the law is and the preeminence of the role of Congress and specifically the House of Representatives when it comes to counting the votes.”
“We’re ready. We’re prepared,” Ms Pelosi continued. “We’ve been ready for a while because we see this irresponsibility of the president, his disrespect for the Constitution, for our democracy and for the integrity of our elections.”
“So,” she added, “we’re ready for him.”
Mr Trump has falsely claimed throughout his re-election bid that the only way he could lose would be for massive voter fraud to take place across the country, as he and his inner circle repeatedly made baseless attacks against mail-in voting efforts during the coronavirus pandemic.
Should Mr Trump dispute the results of the election, the Federal Contested Elections Act of 1969 would allow him to file a complaint with the clerk of the House of Representatives, which would begin the process of an election challenge.
The Committee on House Administration would then conduct an investigation into the election challenge, eventually producing a report that could then lead to a vote.
However, it would be unlikely for the Democratic-led House of Representatives to vote in favor of the president’s election challenge, if Mr Biden were in fact to secure a fair victory on Election Day.
Campaigning in several key battlegrounds across the country ahead of Election Day, Mr Trump argued it was important for voters to have a final determination by Tuesday night. States have their own laws surrounding the ballot count, with many allowing mail-in ballots to be counted for several days after the election so long as they are post-marked by Election Day.
“I think it’s a terrible thing when ballots can be collected after an election,” Mr Trump said, according to Axios. “I think it’s a terrible thing when people or states are allowed to tabulate ballots for a long period of time after the election is over because it can only lead to one thing.”
The comments come as reports indicated Mr Biden and Mr Trump were both preparing for a potentially massive legal showdown in crucial states where the vote could be contested.
Asked about reports that the president may announce his supposed victory on Tuesday night as results were still coming in, Mr Biden said: “My response is the president is not going to steal this election.”