I Witnessed the Count of the 2016 Electoral Vote

Pictured: the ticket to attend the joint-session to see the count

On Friday, January 6, a joint session of Congress was held to officially count the Electoral College votes. A majority of the Republican Senate from the 115th Congress  was in attendance with some members of the Republican house. Six to eight Democratic congressmen and women, including minority leader Nancy Pelosi, were present, but it appeared that 5  Democrat members of the Senate attended the event and refused to join House Democrats during the objections.

As tradition holds, the Vice President, VP Joe Biden presided over the Joint-Session to count the electoral votes. When the voting certificates are proved certain and counted, the process starts from the beginning of the alphabet. After the votes from Alabama were certified, a Congressman from Massachusetts rose to object the 9 votes award to President Elect Trump on grounds that the votes could be tainted due to the Russian Hacking Scandal. Vice President Biden said in response, after throwing out the objection, “Title 569 US code require that any objection be presented in writing, signed by both members of the House of Representatives and the Senate. It is the objection be written in writing and signed not only by the member of the House of Representatives, but also by a Senator.”  The Congressman was missing a signature from a Senator; therefore, his objection could not be entertained. Vice President Biden was interrupted another eight times by Democrat objections, each with different reasons ranging from the Russian Hacking scandal to accusations of Voter Suppression, that were thrown out because they did not hold a signature from a Senator. Eventually VP Biden told one Congresswoman “It’s over,” after dealing with objection after objection without a Senator’s signature. The Republican members gave VP Biden a standing ovation and Speaker Ryan gave him a small chuckle. Eventually two representatives, Rep. Barbara Lee of California and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas had their microphones turned off during their objections. Over the course of the objections, Vice President Biden could be seen becoming increasingly agitated with the faulty objections. The Republican members, as well as myself, could be heard saying order after objections. After all the state votes had been read, a Democrat Representative made one finally plea to any senator in the room asking them to join her and sign one of the objections. Quickly afterwards, boos and a small laugh from Speaker Ryan echoed through the chamber.

Witnessing the counting of the electoral votes from one of the galleries was eye opening and it felt as if I was a part of the process. I felt most involved after protesters rose, yelling around the galleries, especially as one was seated directly behind me. I was seated on the right side of the galleries and watched with my jaw dropped as two protesters rose on the other side and began expressing their beliefs about the election. As I watched them be taken out by Capitol Police, a man arose behind me began yelling “One Person, one vote!” and then the preamble of the Constitution as he was carried out. Although I respect the young man’s right to free speech, it was alarming to hear it behind me as the venue was prestigious and the yelling was unexpected. As this was one of the most controversial and historic elections in American History, witnessing the official count of the Electoral College votes was amazing. The 2016 Election demonstrated the reason why the founding fathers created the Electoral College: to vote for all Americans, not just those in big cities.

Overall Vice President Biden was interrupted 11 times by objections or protests. The final votes are:

Trump: 304

Clinton: 227

Powell: 3

Kasich: 1

Paul: 1

Sanders: 1

Spotted Eagle: 1
Thank you to Congresswoman Comstock and her staff for giving me the opportunity to attend this historic event. Thank you to Congressman Matt Gaetz for giving his guest ticket for me to attend.

About the Author

Abby Varricchio
Abby is a sophomore and a first year member of the BlueXpress. She is involved in writing, videography , and marketing. Abby enjoys politics and hopes to run for Congress one day.
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