Last Updated on December 8, 2020
Top lawyers from the Amistad Project confirmed in a white paper that Electoral College deadlines touted by the media are simply arbitrary.
In a white paper released last week, the Amistad Project from the non-partisan Thomas More Society, argued that because the deadlines set for the Electoral College are only set by federal law, not the Constitution, then states who are questioning the results of the election would have the right to ignore them if they so chose when investigating irregularities.
As noted in an analysis piece from Revolver News, federal law currently requires state legislatures to have chosen their Electors by the Monday after the second Wednesday in December (December 14th this year). If they have “failed to make a choice on the day prescribed by law,” then “the electors may be appointed on a subsequent day in such a manner as the legislature of such State may direct.”
The piece by Revolver suggested that even with the deadlines, the states could take control of their Electoral College votes. However, the white paper from the Amistad Project goes even further, and argues that the only deadline set for the Electoral College is that of the 4 year term limit mandated by the Constitution.
Two limits are noted by the Amistad Project: The aforementioned Electoral College meeting date, and the “safe harbour” limit, which is December 8. They argue in the white paper that the basis for these dates was “to provide enough time to affect the presidential transition of power, a concern which is fully obsolete in the age of internet and air travel.”
The legislation therefore does not give the states enough time to fulfill their “constitutional and ethical obligation to hold free and fair elections.” The paper refers to the 1876 election, where three states sent two sets of Electoral Votes, one for each candidate, and due to the confusion, Congress passed legislation that bypassed the usual deadlines, allowing for time to correct the states that were in dispute.
“Through rigorous investigations supporting our litigation, we demonstrate that state and local officials brazenly violated election laws in several swing states in order to advance a partisan political agenda,” said Phill Kline, Director of The Amistad Project. “As a result, it is impossible for those states to determine their presidential Electors in line with the arbitrary deadline set forth via federal statute in 1948, and thus, the only deadline that matters is January 20, 2021.”
The white paper concludes that states should appoint their Electors as “expeditiously as possible,” but they should not need to obey the arbitrary deadlines set by federal law.