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Pence Pushes Back on Trump's Claim He Had the Authority to Overturn the Election

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Former Vice President Mike Pence is pushing back on the claim that he had the authority to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

During a speech at a Federalist Society event on Friday, Pence said, “There are those in our party who believe that as the presiding officer of the joint session of Congress, that I possessed unilateral authority to reject Electoral College votes. And I heard this week, President Trump said I had the right to overturn the election. President Trump is wrong.”

He added, “I had no right to overturn the election. The presidency belongs to the American people, and the American people alone. And frankly, there is no idea more un-American than the notion that any one person could choose the American president.”

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Earlier this week, former President Donald Trump claimed that the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol should look into why Pence did not overturn the election, as IJR reported.

“The Unselect Committee should be investigating why Nancy Pelosi did such a poor job of overseeing security and why Mike Pence did not send back the votes for recertification or approval, in that it has now been shown that he clearly had the right to do so!” he said in a statement.

Trump’s comments about Pence center around a 19th-century law known as the Electoral Count Act, which dictates how Congress is to count the electoral votes after a presidential election and how to handle disputes. It was written after the contested 1876 election when several states sent multiple sets of electors to Congress.

As ABC News notes, the law, in “long” and “convoluted language,” creates some confusion about the role of the vice president in the process of counting the electoral votes. Some in Trump’s orbit apparently interpreted the law to mean that Pence could unilaterally declare that votes from six states would not be counted due to “ongoing disputes.”

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However, ahead of the counting of the votes, Pence said that he did not have the authority to throw out votes.

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