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Pelosi calls on House Democrats to prepare for deciding on election

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi talk with members of Congress at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, September 25, 2020. (Photo by Reuters)

US House speaker Nancy Pelosi has called on her fellow House Democrats to prepare for a rare election scenario that would require Congress to decide the outcome of the upcoming presidential vote, “to ensure the election is not stolen.”

As President Donald Trump is escalating his ongoing attack on mail-in ballots, Pelosi called on her colleagues for “an all- out effort” to capture additional Republican-held House seats, which they might need if the decision over election results go to the House.

She said that recent remarks made by Trump show that the president could ask the House to decide the race.

"We cannot leave anything to chance,” Pelosi said in the letter, sent from her campaign email.

"It's sad we have to have to plan this way, but it's what we must do to ensure the election is not stolen,” she added.

Trump has repeatedly cast doubt on mail voting, claiming that mail-in ballots lead to mass voter fraud.

The president also said earlier that he wants to avoid the election being decided by the Supreme Court or Congress.

"I don't want to go back to Congress either, even though we have an advantage if we go back to Congress," Trump said. "It's counted one vote per state. So we actually have an advantage."

Under the country’s Constitution, the House would vote by state delegation to settle such a contest, with each state casting a single vote.

Democrats control the chamber by 232 seats to 198. Republicans, however, control a majority of 26 state delegations versus 22 for Democrats. 

Pennsylvania’s delegation is tied, while Michigan has a 7-6 split between Democrats and Republicans and an additional seat held by a Libertarian.

This would happen if it is not clear which of the two candidates — Trump or his Democratic rival Joe Biden — had received the minimum 270 Electoral College votes in the November 3 presidential election needed to gain office.

This has not happened in the US since 1876.

In controversial remarks last week, Trump cast doubt on the integrity of the vote and refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the race to Biden.

Trump drawn reactions from both Democrats and his own party members, who raised concern that the president might refuse to leave office, or even resort to force, if he loses the November vote.

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