Washington

Trump supporter calls on Electoral College members to vote their ‘conscience’


A prominent pro-life supporter of President Trump urged Electoral College members to vote their “conscience” on Monday due to what he called unresolved questions about the legality of Joseph R. Biden’s election.

Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, urged the 538 electors who are gathering in state capitals on Monday “to be free of political pressure and focus only on what is good for the country and right in the sight of God.”

“Where appropriate, I urge you to exercise conscientious objection,” he said. “There are, in a number of states, serious questions as to whether that vote was conducted in a legal and Constitutional manner, and not all of those questions have been adequately resolved up to this point.”

The Electoral College members are voting, as proscribed by federal law, to finalize the electoral vote totals in each state. Mr. Biden, the presumptive president-elect with 306 electoral votes, is expected to be verified as the winner later on Monday and to give an address Monday evening.

Occasionally, so-called “faithless electors” will cast their votes for someone other than the winner of the presidential election in their state. Some states do not legally bind their electors to vote for the winner, but most states do require it.

Father Pavone, who resigned from a role in the Trump campaign last summer, urged electors to follow “the best dictates of your knowledge and conscience.”

“In some cases this may mean voting for someone other than you are expected to vote, or abstaining altogether,” he said. “This is not unprecedented. In regard to this, you obviously have the laws of your state to take into account. In some states, you are not obliged to vote for the candidate who has been certified; in other states, there is no penalty for changing your vote.”

He called on the presidential electors to consider “concerns that has been raised by tens of millions of your fellow citizens, and all the consequences for our nation, and vote in a manner consistent with your conscience.”

“The votes of the people are respected only when legal votes are distinguished from illegal ones, and when the count is carried out in a manner consistent with the Constitution,” he said. “This is a legal and ethical consideration that the Members of Congress will also need to take into account when they tally and certify your votes in joint session at 1 p.m. ET on Jan. 6.”

Congress will vote on that date to approve each state’s electoral votes. Some House Republicans plan to object to Mr. Biden’s votes, and they would need at least one Republican senator to join them to debate the matter.

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