The reason this ambiguity is so dangerous is that hacking the ECA this way doesn’t require unified control of Congress to implement. In fact, it doesn’t even require control of one of the houses of Congress. Under the ECA, one senator and one representative can trigger an objection to a state’s electoral votes that will suspend the electoral vote count until the objection is separately resolved by both houses of Congress. The ECA limits debate to two hours on each objection, but it’s perfectly possible to make more than one objection per state. And there are fifty states, plus the District of Columbia.
So however unlikely it might be, a dedicated band of diehard partisans could use the ECA to block the completion of the electoral vote count past January 20. If this band of diehards had control of one of the houses of Congress? Well, then they could, in theory, block the electoral count permanently.
Don’t think that it can’t happen. Similar tactics have already been applied to block a variety of appointments, including Supreme Court justices…
inally, there’s the biggest—and most dangerous—bug of all: Any party that controls both houses of Congress and has the necessary political will can install their candidate as president of the United States regardless of who actually won the election. The unpleasant fact is that, despite a nationwide vote, fenced with elaborate legal and technical safeguards, under the terms of the ECA as it now exists, the president of the United States is elected purely on the honor system by 535 members of Congress.
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