Trump Claims Mike Pence Can 'Reject' Electors. Here's What the VP Can Actually Do

In recent days President Donald Trump has been pressing Vice President Mike Pence to influence the electoral vote certification on Wednesday.

"The Vice President has the power to reject fraudulently chosen electors," Trump claimed in a Twitter post on Tuesday.

The Vice President has the power to reject fraudulently chosen electors.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 5, 2021

The tweet followed Trump calling on the vice president to "come through" for him, in comments he made during a rally Monday night in Georgia for senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, ahead of today's runoff elections in the state that will decide which party controls the U.S. Senate.

"I hope Mike Pence comes through for us. I have to tell you," said Trump. "Of course, if he doesn't come through, I won't like him quite as much."

The president added that Pence was "going to have a lot to say about it. And you know one thing with him, you're going to get straight shots. He's going to call it straight."

Despite Trump's claims, the Constitution doesn't grant the vice president that much power. Instead, it's up to the House and Senate to voice objections to the electoral vote certification.

Vice President Mike Pence Campaigns In Georgia
President Donald Trump claimed Tuesday that Vice President Mike Pence can reject electors on January 6 when Congress certifies the Electoral College results. Here Pence campaigns for GOP Senate candidates on January 4 in Milner, Georgia. Photo by Megan Varner/Getty Images

Under federal law, Congress must meet on January 6 to open sealed certificates from each state that contain a record of their electoral votes.

As President of the Senate, Pence presides over the session. If the vice president cannot attend, the Senate pro-tempore, the longest-serving senator in the majority party, will lead the session. The Senate pro-tempore is currently Chuck Grassley of Iowa.

The presiding officer, which in this case is expected to be Pence, opens the certificates of the electoral votes from each state in alphabetical order. Appointed tellers from the House and Senate then read each certificate out loud and record the vote. At the end of the count, Pence is responsible for announcing the winner.

Pence's role in the session, according to the Associated Press, is "largely pro forma," meaning "for the sake of form."

"I think he will approach this as a constitutionalist, basically, and say 'What's my role in the Constitution as president of the Senate?'" David McIntosh, president of the conservative Club for Growth and a friend to Pence, told the AP.

"What he'll do is allow anybody who is going to move to object to be heard, but then abide by what the majority of the Senate makes the outcome," McIntosh added.

An objection to an electoral vote can occur after a teller reads the certificate from a state. However, Pence can't hear the objection unless it's written and signed by a member of both chambers.

If there is an objection request, which is likely since multiple GOP lawmakers declared they would object to certain electoral votes, the House and Senate separate and debate for two hours to consider the objection.

For the objection to move forward, both chambers have to agree to it by a majority vote—unlikely with Democrats controlling the House. If they don't agree, the original electoral votes are counted.

Newsweek reached out to the White House but didn't hear back in time for publication.