Electoral College certification on Capitol Hill, viewed from local perspective

West Virginia

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (WDVM) — With the Nation’s Capital on pins and needles over the counting of electoral ballots from the November presidential election, political observers are sharing their insight from history. That includes a former congressional historian who is retired from the Robert C. Byrd Center at Shepherd University.

Every four years in the U.S. Capitol, following a presidential election is the counting of electoral ballots from each of the states. Except for maybe a time during the post-Civil War-era, it is textbook Government 101.

Just ask Ray Smock at Shepherd’s Center, named for the distinguished long-serving U.S. Senator from West Virginia and a strict Constitutionalist.

“The President of the Senate, Mike Pence, as Vice President of the United States, announces the winners. And that’s all there is to it. But,” says Smock laughing, “this year it’s going to be different than any other time.”

Different? Why? Well, Members of Congress and Senators can object to the count and take up to two hours to debate.

Bring it on says the chairman of the Washington County, Maryland Republican Party, just across the West Virginia line bordering the eastern panhandle.

“I’m very happy and grateful for those senators and members of the House of Representatives that have the courage to stand up and challenge this. I think what we’ve seen in this past election cycle is absolutely unprecedented,” says Jerry DeWolf.

And a contingent of Capitol Hill lawmakers is on the same page as DeWolf. So there are objections.

“The only thing they can judge is an objection and they can vote on an objection,” says Smock. “It could be interesting and certainly historic. I’ll be watching very closely to see how this plays out. But in the end we’ll know what the states have said and that we can proceed two weeks to the inauguration.”

And with the result of the Georgia U.S. Senate elections possibly unresolved, things could get even more complicated.

The presidential inauguration at the U.S. Capitol will be on January 20, whoever Congress decides should take the oath of office.

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