Joe Biden officially secured the U.S. presidency after the Electoral College confirmed his victory on Monday, culminating a tumultuous period sparked by Donald Trump’s refusal to acknowledge that he lost with the help of Republicans willing to back up his unsubstantiated claims.
Monday’s vote puts pressure on Senate Republicans and others who have refused to acknowledge Biden’s overwhelming victory, and in some cases worked to reverse the will of the voters, to finally acknowledge that Trump lost and Biden will take office as 46. president next January 20.
California voters’ 55 votes put Biden above the 270 needed to win . Voters in all 50 US states and the District of Columbia cast their votes for president and vice president in consecrated constitutional ceremonies that took on new importance after Trump insisted without evidence that the election was “rigged.”
Congress will officially count the electoral votes on January 6. But many Republicans have not publicly acknowledged Biden’s certified victory and court rulings rejecting challenges to the results, saying Trump has a right to let the process unfold.
“I think we will see the page turn on January 20,” he said. “We will have a peaceful transition.”
Trump stated in an interview on Fox News that aired Sunday that he will continue with legal challenges, even after the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday rejected Texas’s offer to overturn election results in four key states, a case the president had called. “the big one.”
The lawsuit sought to invalidate votes in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin to install Trump for another term. Republican attorneys general in 18 states and 126 Republican congressmen, roughly two-thirds of the Republican caucus, had supported him.
Republicans said uncertified Trump voters gathered in Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin to cast votes in the event pending litigation voided the results, despite the fact that official electoral votes are stamped by the state. Any attempt to get Congress to consider a rival list of voters “is not going to work as a matter of law,” said Edward Foley, a professor and director of an election law program at Ohio State University who has studied contested elections.
Biden is planning a speech to the nation that will ask Americans to join in now that the process has concluded. “The flame of democracy was lit in this nation long ago. And now we know that nothing, not even a pandemic or an abuse of power, can put out that flame ”, Biden will express according to a speech prepared by his transition team, which he will deliver at 6:30 p.m. (local time). “So now is the time to turn the page. To unite. To heal.”
The president’s campaign and his allies have filed dozens of lawsuits seeking to invalidate Biden’s victories in the battlefield states, almost all of which were rejected for lack of evidence of fraud.
Rick Bloomingdale, a Biden voter in Pennsylvania, said before the Harrisburg meeting that he was confident his vote would be counted and that Trump’s efforts to reverse the election would fail.
“At noon on January 20, Joe Biden will be president of the United States,” said Richard W. Bloomingdale, president of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO. “It’s amazing to me that we have people who are actually trying to stage a coup and take the votes away from the voters.”
Most voters gathered in their state capitals with restricted access and social distancing due to the coronavirus pandemic. Nevada conducted its meeting in its entirety by videoconference, and Arizona did not publicly disclose the location of its meeting to keep it “discreet.”
There were protests against Trump’s election outside of the Electoral College meeting in some states in 2016, and there were reports of small demonstrations this year. Trump supporters gathered to demonstrate in Washington on Saturday, sometimes clashing with counter-protesters and police.
Police escorted Michigan voters from a parking lot to the State Capitol in Lansing, said voter Chris Cracchiolo, vice chairman of the Michigan Democratic Party.
“At the time I volunteered to do this, I thought it was a ceremonial thing,” Cracchiolo said before the meeting. “Since November 3, the magnitude and importance of this role seems to be magnifying every day.”
The Michigan legislature was closed due to security concerns, and the legislature stripped Republican State Representative Gary Eisen of his committee positions Monday after the lawmaker said it would be part of a potentially violent protest seeking to overturn the vote of the Electoral College of the state.
“I know this is not the result that some want. It’s not what I want either, ”said Republican Speaker of the Michigan House of Representatives Lee Chatfield in a statement supporting the Electoral College vote for Biden. “But we have a republic if we can maintain it. And I intend to. “
When American voters cast ballots in a presidential race, they are actually voting for the list of electors of a candidate cast by the electoral votes of that state – one vote for each United States representative and senator. The candidate who obtains the majority of the 538 electoral votes, or 270, wins the presidency.
Biden won 306 electoral votes from the 25 states and the District of Columbia he obtained , and voters, who are generally selected by their political parties, are essentially committed to voting for the winner of the popular vote in their state. Trump captured 232 electoral votes from the 25 states he won.
There could still be some drama when Congress meets on January 6, if a member of the House and Senate challenge a state’s voters list . That would require each chamber to debate and vote on the objection.
Republican Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama has said he plans to object, but so far no senator has emerged to join him. Seventy-five Republican legislators in Pennsylvania also sent a letter on Dec. 4 to the state Congressional delegation urging them to object.
Any objection that gets to the ballot will likely backfire with Democrats controlling the House and enough Republican senators acknowledging Biden’s victory, said Nathaniel Persily, a Stanford University law professor and an expert on electoral law.
But this Monday’s voters’ meeting is the last step for anyone waiting for the process to unfold, Persily said. “That constitutionally would be the end of the road,” he added.