Some news sources (like zeit.de, in German only, sorry) report that Trump could use a large number of lawsuits to keep the Electoral College from voting on Dec 14th. As I understand it, all legal battles have to be finished by then and an official election result has to be available.

If the Electoral College wouldn't be able to vote, the House would have to decide who to become President. In this case, which is said to have happened before in 1824 (why then?), the House would vote not with its members but with two representatives from each state. Since the majority of states are Republican, this would mean Trump would be the next president, having bypassed the actual election result.

Did I reproduce the scenario correctly? How would it look in detail? How realistic is it? What would have to happen in order for it to be successful?

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    It is not a guarantee that Republican members of congress would automatically cast their vote for trump in that extremely unlikely scenario. There isn't widespread support among republicans that his claims have any merit.
    – JohnFx
    Commented Nov 12, 2020 at 1:03

1 Answer 1


Trump can't stop the Electoral College from voting. What he might try to do is file lawsuits to keep a number of states from certifying their elections until after December 8, at which point he can contest the validity of the electors appointed (3 USC 5). If he can dispute the validity of enough electors (it looks like he'll need at least 37 of them), the election goes to the House of Representatives.

This is almost certainly not going to work. Judges don't like being manipulated for political purposes, and lawsuits not backed by evidence get thrown out in a hurry (most of the ones filed on election day were dismissed within hours.)

(In response to your parenthetical, in 1824, the electoral vote was split four ways, with no candidate receiving a majority.)

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    Not to mention that the current House is unlikely in the extreme to install Trump, even if it comes down to that... Commented Nov 12, 2020 at 4:16
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    @TedWrigley - If it was a vote like any other, that'd be the case, but (as it says in the question) it's a special vote where each state delegation gets one vote. And there are more Republican-leaning states than Democrat-leaning ones. So if it were to get that far, there is a very plausible case that the House would pick Trump
    – Bobson
    Commented Nov 12, 2020 at 5:13
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    @Bobson: I had not been aware of that, much less considered it. My bad for not looking into the details, and thanks for correcting me. I love to learn new things... Commented Nov 12, 2020 at 5:40
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    @TedWrigley I have already posted this somewhere else, but just once again: ted.com/talks/…
    – ChatterOne
    Commented Nov 12, 2020 at 8:17
  • I was said that pending lawsuits do nott prevent a state from certification their electors. Is it true?
    – user
    Commented Nov 14, 2020 at 17:19

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