It is the nightmare scenario Pennsylvania election officials have fretted over for months: a knock-down, drag-out fight over which presidential candidate will win the state and snag its coveted electoral votes.
Now, the head of the Republican Party of Pennsylvania has fueled fears of chaos after Election Day, raising the specter that his party could break with tradition and allow the GOP-controlled Legislature to choose a slate of presidential electors to cast the state’s votes for Donald Trump — even if the president doesn’t win the popular vote.
In comments to The Atlantic made public this week, state Republican Chairman Lawrence Tabas suggested that he had spoken with Trump campaign officials about the possibility of bypassing the results of the popular vote, should there be uncertainty or disputes over the validity of ballots cast. The U.S. Constitution, Tabas said, allows state legislatures to choose presidential electors.
“I’ve mentioned it to them, and I hope they’re thinking about it too,” Tabas told the magazine, referencing the Trump campaign. “I just don’t think this is the right time for me to be discussing those strategies and approaches, but [direct appointment of electors] is one of the options.”