What Is The Electoral College Safe Harbor Day?

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Timeline for the electoral college voting and counting

Today is the electoral college safe harbor day. The day is established by law as one that ends any disputes over the electoral college and locks in the certifications of the states against any further appeal. It is found at 3 U.S.C. § 5 and here is how it reads.

If any State shall have provided, by laws enacted prior to the day fixed for the appointment of the electors, for its final determination of any controversy or contest concerning the appointment of all or any of the electors of such State, by judicial or other methods or procedures, and such determination shall have been made at least six days before the time fixed for the meeting of the electors, such determination made pursuant to such law so existing on said day, and made at least six days prior to said time of meeting of the electors, shall be conclusive, and shall govern in the counting of the electoral votes as provided in the Constitution, and as hereinafter regulated, so far as the ascertainment of the electors appointed by such State is concerned.”

To summarize, contests for slates of electors for any state must be resolved by six days before the day fixed by law for electors to meet and vote. The electors meet and vote, by law, on December 14th. Six days before that is today.

As of today the certification of any state’s electoral college is is final (“shall be conclusive” in the words of the statute) and “shall govern in the counting of the electoral college votes.” One would think that even Trumpers could understand this.

This law means it is over. Enough states have already certified their electoral college votes to give Biden the 270 to win.

Some conservative groups have attempted to argue that the Constitution confers no authority for Congress to set this deadline, that the only Constitutional deadline is the expiration of the President’s term on January 20th. These conservative groups are ignorant of the Constitution.

The Congress may determine the Time of chusing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.” U.S. Constitution, Article II, Section 1, Clause 4.

I honestly don’t know what such idiots don’t understand about “Congress may determine the time of chusing the electors” in terms of empowering a statute that mandates the time of choosing the electors.

So wish everyone a #HappyElectoralCollegeSafeHarborDay.

Written by

Retired lawyer & Army vet in The Villages of Florida. Lifelong: Republican (pre-Trump), Constitution buff, science nerd & dog lover. Twitter: @KeithDB80

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