Some websites are sharing that President Donald Trump just won Nevada and the electors flipped for him. But this isn’t accurate. What actually happened was a slate of Republican electors cast their vote for Trump, but those votes were only symbolic. They won’t count in the Electoral College since President-elect Joe Biden won Nevada and Nevada law notes that the electoral votes are granted in a winner-takes-all manner. Some Republicans have said that their votes were cast as alternates in case court challenges are successful.
Here’s what you need to know about what happened in Nevada.
A Slate of Republican Electors Voted for Trump, But Those Aren’t Official Electoral Votes
A slate of Republican “alternate” electors cast their votes for Trump, while some conservative news sources presented the event as Nevada giving its electoral votes to Trump. You can see one video example below.
But in truth, those votes won’t be counted in the Electoral College. If Trump had won Nevada, then a slate of Republican electors would have been able to cast official votes for him. But since he did not win, the official electoral votes were cast by a slate of Democratic electors today.
These “alternate” Republican electors gave six electoral votes to Trump that are not official.
Some people are saying this means Nevada voted for Trump, but that’s not accurate.
The event was more of a symbolic vote. Some are hoping that Vice President Mike Pence will choose the unofficial slate of electors over the official slate. However, the votes are counted in a Joint Session of Congress, and then after they are counted, the President of the Senate (Pence) announces the winner.
Nevada has rules in place that don’t allow electors to go faithless. Although no penalties are incurred by faithless electors, a faithless vote is canceled and the elector is replaced.
In this case, however, the Republican votes weren’t even cast by official electors who went faithless. Rather, these were more symbolic votes. Nevada Republican officials may be hoping these will become official if any legal challenges are successful. This is the strategy in Pennsylvania and Georgia, as explained in the sections below.
Nevada’s official electoral votes went to Biden, KOLO TV reported.
The electors met virtually via Zoom after the courts denied lawsuits challenging Nevada’s election results.
In Nevada, Biden won with 50.1% of the vote compared to Trump’s 47.7%, AP results noted. Biden received 703,486 votes to Trump’s 669,890 votes. Jo Jorgensen of the Libertarian Party received 14,783 votes.
Brad Heath of Reuters explained that an alternate slate of electors was cast in South Carolina in 1876. He reported that Congress later passed a law that only the slate of electors certified by the state’s governor will be officially counted.
Republicans in Georgia Cast ‘Unofficial’ Electoral Votes Because of Pending Lawsuits
Republicans in Pennsylvania and Georgia also cast unofficial electoral votes.
The GOP chair said that in Georgia, they selected their own electors in order to preserve Trump’s lawsuit, Richard Elliot of WSB-TV reported.
David Shafter, Chair of the Georgia Republican Party, said about the alternate votes:
“Because the President’s lawsuit contesting the Georgia election is still pending, the Republican nominees for Presidential Elector met today at noon at the State Capitol today and cast their votes for President and Vice President. Had we not meet today and cast our votes, the President’s pending election contest would have been effectively mooted. Our action today preserves his rights under Georgia law.”
Pennsylvania Republicans Also Cast Alternate Votes in Case Legal Challenges Are Successful
Pennsylvania Republicans cast alternate electoral votes for the same reason, Fox News reported. They explained the rationale in a press release.
The Pennsylvania GOP noted that the votes were cast “at the request of the Trump campaign.” Bernie Comfort, Pennsylvania GOP chair, said in a statement: “We took this procedural vote to preserve any legal claims that may be presented going forward.”
He wrote that the “conditional votes” were cast in the same fashion as votes for John F. Kennedy were cast in Hawaii in 1960, even though Nixon was declared the winner. He said the votes are certified “on the understanding that, if as a result of a final non-appealable Court Order or other proceeding prescribed by law, [they] are ultimately recognized as being the duly elected and qualified Electors for President and Vice President of the United States of American from the state of Pennsylvania.”
On Fox & Friends, Stephen Miller said that an “alternative” group of electors would be voting today in some states and sending those results to Congress.
However, the alternate electors’ votes won’t be counted.
The deadline for the President of the Senate to receive the ballots is December 23. The ballots are then counted by Congress in a joint session on January 6, 2021. The joint session will meet at 1 p.m. and the Vice President will open the certificates. When the votes are counted, the tellers transmit them back to the Vice President, who then announces which person received the majority of 270 votes or more.