The idea is that if there’s no certification, then Republican-run state legislatures in a few key states — especially Michigan and Pennsylvania — could appoint pro-Trump slates of presidential electors, even though Biden won the popular vote in those states.
So Trump’s subversion efforts become impossible if key states certify their results before then — but the whole election remains in play if Trump’s team can push certification past the magic date.
A number of critical states are set to certify their results this week. The first two to keep an eye on are Pennsylvania and Michigan:
In Pennsylvania, there isn’t a State Board of Canvassers to certify state results. Instead, it’s done just on the county level. Of the 67 counties in the state, all of the county Board of Elections — except Philadelphia — are expected to have meetings on Monday to certify their election results.
Legal experts told CNN the appeal’s chances of success are inconceivable.
Once the counties certify results, the information is sent to Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar who then will award the state’s 20 electoral votes to the winner.
In Michigan, the State Board of Canvassers is set to meet Monday to certify the state’s election results, but there is a lot of attention on what its two GOP members will do.
Shinkle told the New York Times that he had received hundreds of messages both favoring and opposing certification. “You can’t make up your mind before you get all the facts,” he told the Times.
There’s drama elsewhere, too.
The bottom line: All of this chaos drummed up by Trump’s team might not go anywhere. But it has turned the usually procedural process of states certifying their results into a drama that, at a minimum, allows doubt about the validity of the election to spread — and, at the extreme, gives Trump an unexpected opening to maneuver his way into keeping power. It’s unlikely, but Trump has surprised everyone before.
Here’s the full rundown of states that are scheduled to finalize their vote totals this week, according to CNN’s political unit:
- Arizona (county certification deadline)
- Michigan (state certification meeting)
- Pennsylvania (county certification deadline)
- Tennessee (county certification deadline)
- North Carolina (state certification meeting)
- Nevada (state certification meeting)
- Massachusetts (likely, according to state election officials)
- Ohio (state certification meeting)
Arizona and Wisconsin, two other states that were late projections, are due to certify the week after Thanksgiving.
CNN’s Jason Morris, Marshall Cohen and Kelly Mena contributed to this report.