Give Mike Pence 'Exclusive Authority' on Which Electoral College Votes to Count: Lawsuit

A group of Republican Trump supporters, including one Texas congressman, have filed a new lawsuit in a last-ditch attempt to overturn the election results, arguing that Vice President Mike Pence should ultimately decide which Electoral College votes to count when Congress meets January 6 to accept the election results.

The suit, led by Representative Louie Gohmert of Texas, specifically seeks to have Pence reject the Electoral College votes from Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, which all voted for President-elect Joe Biden, in an attempt to hand Trump a second term in office despite his loss on November 3.

The lawsuit claims, without evidence, that such action is needed because of "substantial evidence of election fraud and other illegal conduct." Several Republican lawmakers have said they plan to challenge the electoral votes—forcing Congress to take up a heated political battle over the election results.

Trump, who is spending the holidays at his Mar-a-Lago resort in West Palm Beach, Florida, has refused to concede the election as his legal team and members of the GOP have spent the weeks since the election mounting unsuccessful attempts to overturn the outcome, including dozens of failed court challenges founded on baseless accusations of fraud. Trump has tweeted numerous times that he believes he's the rightful winner of the election.

The latest lawsuit was filed against Pence, who has supported legal challenges to the election's outcome, in his official capacity because he will preside over the Senate and receive the votes from Congress.

Pence is vacationing in Colorado this week and hasn't publicly reacted to the lawsuit. A spokesman for the vice president declined to comment when reached by Newsweek on Monday.

Gohmert, an attorney and former judge, has been known to take up controversial and conspiratorial positions in the past, particularly ones about former President Barack Obama and former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Others who have joined Gohmert in his suit include Arizona's Republican slate of electors, including state GOP chairwoman Kelli Ward and Tyler Bowyer, a leader in the Students for Trump movement.

Biden, who received 306 Electoral College votes to Trump's 232, has been working on his transition and making plans for a scaled-back inaugural ceremony on January 20 because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The Gohmert-led lawsuit is slated to be taken up by Trump-appointed judge Jeremy Kernodle in Texas. The plaintiffs are seeking an expedited review, though it's unclear when the court could take up the case.

"Under the Twelfth Amendment, Defendant Pence alone has the exclusive authority and sole discretion to open and permit the counting of the electoral votes for a given state, and where there are competing slates of electors, or where there is objection to any single slate of electors, to determine which electors' votes, or whether none, shall be counted," the lawsuit alleges.

Mike Pence
A new lawsuit from Trump supporters contends Vice President Mike Pence should get "exclusive authority" to decide which Electoral College votes to count. Here Pence speaks at a campaign event on December 17 in Columbus, Georgia. Elijah Nouvelage/Getty