The Ted Cruz “Ten-Day Audit” Proposal

As the Spirited Reasoner publishes this post, the calendar claims that today’s date is January 2, 2021. I must confess that I have not audited the calendar’s maker, nor have I independently verified the date. I might actually be posting this article on a different date in a different year. After all, who’s to say the makers of these calendars aren’t all conspiring to keep me in the dark?

The reason today’s date is so important is that Sen. Ted Cruz and a dozen of his anti-Constitutional partisans are calling for a halt in the counting of electoral votes by Congress, notwithstanding clear provisions in the Twelfth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution and the Electoral College Act. What they want is an emergency 10-day audit of whatever election results they deem untrustworthy.

Unfortunately for them, the latter statute, which can be found in Chapter 1, Title 3 of the United States Code (if you can trust the publishers), states, in Section 15, that the following events must happen on January 6:

“Congress shall be in session on the sixth day of January succeeding every meeting of the electors. The Senate and House of Representatives shall meet in the Hall of the House of Representatives at the hour of 1 o’clock in the afternoon on that day, and the President of the Senate shall be their presiding officer. Two tellers shall be previously appointed on the part of the Senate and two on the part of the House of Representatives, to whom shall be handed, as they are opened by the President of the Senate, all the certificates and papers purporting to be certificates of the electoral votes, which certificates and papers shall be opened, presented, and acted upon in the alphabetical order of the States, beginning with the letter A; and said tellers, having then read the same in the presence and hearing of the two Houses, shall make a list of the votes as they shall appear from the said certificates; and the votes having been ascertained and counted according to the rules in this subchapter provided, the result of the same shall be delivered to the President of the Senate, who shall thereupon announce the state of the vote, which announcement shall be deemed a sufficient declaration of the persons, if any, elected President and Vice President of the United States, and, together with a list of the votes, be entered on the Journals of the two Houses.”

Note the lack of any provision for a 10-day audit. Instead, the statute requires that the President of the Senate (currently Mike Pence) announce the winner. The statute goes on to provide a process for Senators and Representatives to make their objections in writing. But, according to a later clause in that same statute, the vote described above must stand, “unless the two Houses, acting separately, shall concurrently decide such votes not to be the lawful votes of the legally appointed electors of such State.” In other words, any objection to the electoral vote count would require a majority vote in both the House and Senate. Given the fact that Democrats currently control the House, that requirement has a success probability of somewhere close to zero.

Attempts by a group of GOP congressmen to void the Electoral College Act in federal court have already failed.

So, what are Sen. Cruz and his allies up to? They hope to curry favor with Trump supporters, aiming toward success in the presidential primaries of 2024. They also hope to brand every Biden initiative for the next four years as illegitimate, thereby granting to themselves political standing to reject and/or ignore any bills presented to Congress by the new administration. In the process, however, they are delegitimizing what has stood as perhaps the most important feature of American democracy for nearly 250 years: respect for the will of the people. Apparently, they view that price as one they are willing to pay in order to claim victory for their chosen candidate.

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