While there's precedent for dueling sets of electors casting votes in a presidential election, the number of states involved in the action sent the 2020 election into uncharted territory. Democrats successfully executed the same gambit in Hawaii in 1960 by casting an alternative set of votes for John F. Kennedy after the state’s governor certified the electors for Richard Nixon.
Congress ultimately counted the Kennedy electors even though he wasn't declared the winner in the election until 11 days after Nixon’s electors were certified. President Donald Trump and allied third parties are pursuing legal challenges to the election in all of the states involved, including a lawsuit filed in New Mexico on the same day as the Electoral College vote.
“Sending more than one slate of electors is not unheard of,” said Meshawn Maddock, Michigan Republican at-large national elector, in an emailed release. “It’s our duty to the people of Michigan and to the U.S. Constitution to send another slate of electors if the election is in controversy or dispute—and clearly it is.”
The Republicans in other states explained their rationale in similar terms, underlining that casting their votes would preserve Trump’s legal claim for the election as the president pursues legal challenges to the outcome.
Kelli Ward, one of Arizona’s 11 Republican electors, said she believes Republican electors in all the states in question share her perspective—that they represent the legitimately cast votes in the November election, which she said was marred by irregularities and allegations of fraud.
The formal vote by the electors on Dec. 14 involved the signing of several copies of a certificate of vote, which are then sent to the U.S. archivist, the secretary of state, the president of the Senate, and the chief justice for the district court in the district where the electors met. The Democratic electors also send copies of a certificate of ascertainment signed by the governor of each state.
Jesse Law, the lead elector for the Nevada electors pledged to President Donald Trump, told The Epoch Times that the electors would each fill out several copies of the certificate of vote and send them to the required parties via certified mail.
The office of the Nevada secretary of state told The Epoch Times in an email that it received the certificates of vote from the Democratic electors, but not the ones from the GOP. The same is the case for the office of the secretary of state of Pennsylvania.
"We have only the set from the Electoral College meeting organized by the Department of State for the slate of electors that won that race," Wanda Murren, a spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Department of State, told The Epoch Times in an email.
The Pennsylvania Republican Party didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
Mark Jefferson, executive director of the Wisconsin Republican Party, said in an email to The Epoch Times that the electors haven't yet sent the certificates.
“We're going over with attorneys the best route to take on the certificates, and we expect they will be sent,” Jefferson said.
“Under the Privacy Act, OFR does not disclose information about communication with private individuals. As such, we cannot comment on what, if any, communication we've received except for the Certificates that are prepared and sent as part of an official state action,” Katerina Horska, director of legal affairs and policy, said in an email to The Epoch Times.
Since Election Day, Trump and third-party groups have pursued legal challenges to the outcome of the election in six states. None of the efforts have so far borne fruit, including an interstate Supreme Court challenge brought by Texas and backed by 19 Republican attorneys general.
“WOW. This report shows massive fraud. Election changing result!” Trump wrote on Twitter on Dec. 14 in response to the report.
“Tremendous problems being found with voting machines. They are so far off it is ridiculous. Able to take a landslide victory and reduce it to a tight loss. This is not what the USA is all about. Law enforcement shielding machines. DO NOT TAMPER, a crime. Much more to come!” the president wrote on Dec. 15. “Tremendous evidence pouring in on voter fraud. There has never been anything like this in our Country!”
In a speech on Dec. 14, Biden again declared victory, disputed claims about election fraud, and called on Trump to concede. The former vice president and Delaware senator said election officials and volunteers, Republicans and Democrats alike, “knew the elections they oversaw were honest and free and fair.”
“They saw it with their own eyes. And they wouldn’t be bullied into saying anything different,” Biden said.
“In America, when questions are raised about the legitimacy of any election, those questions are resolved through a legal process. And that is precisely what happened here. The Trump campaign brought dozens and dozens and dozens of legal challenges to test the results. They were heard. And they were found to be without merit.”
Most of the post-election lawsuits have been dismissed for reasons other than the merits of the evidence. The Texas Supreme Court case was dropped because the Lone Star state couldn't establish adequate legal standing to bring the case. The court didn't proceed to hear the evidence.
The dueling sets will likely trigger a contested electoral vote count in Congress. Each slate of electors can be challenged with the approval of one member of the House and one senator. Both chambers of Congress would then retire to debate and vote on the slate.
Depending on the outcome of the Senate runoffs in Georgia, Trump would require near-unanimous support in the Senate to block the approval of Biden’s electors.