“Democracy prevailed,” Biden said after the US Electoral College confirmed his victory
Lansing, Michigan / Wilmington, Delaware: Democrat Joe Biden called on Americans to “turn the page” under Trump in a prime-time speech on Monday, hours after he defeated the Republican in the state-by-state election vote. Officially designates the presidency of the United States.
The vote, which was a formality, was significant in light of President Donald Trump’s extraordinary efforts to sabotage the process due to what he falsely claimed was widespread voter fraud in the November 3 election.
Some Trump supporters have called for protests on social media, and election officials have expressed concern over the potential for violence to erupt amid the president’s heated speech. But Monday’s vote went smoothly without major disruptions.
California, the most populous US state, placed Biden on the 270 votes needed to win the Electoral College when its 55 electors unanimously cast their votes for him and running mate Kamala Harris. Biden and Harris – the first woman, first black woman and first Asian American to become vice president-elect – will be sworn in on January 20.
Biden won 306 electoral votes in November to 232 for Trump.
“The flame of democracy has been lit in this nation for a long time,” he said in his speech marking the Electoral College victory. “We now know that nothing – not even a pandemic – or abuse of power – can put this flame out.
“In this fight for the soul of America, democracy prevailed.”
Under a complex system dating back to the 1880s, a candidate becomes President of the United States not by winning the popular vote but through the Electoral College system, which allocates the electoral votes to the 50 states and the District of Columbia based on congressional representation. (Here is a diagram of how the Electoral College works: https://tmsnrt.rs/3lUKcgv)
In 2016, Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton despite losing the national popular vote with nearly 3 million ballot papers. Biden won the popular vote in November with more than 7 million votes.
Voters are usually loyal to the party and unlikely to break their ranks, although there are occasional handful of voters casting ballots for someone other than the winner in their states. In 2016, for example, seven voters went to “rogue”, a number that is historically unusual but still far from sufficient to alter the outcome.
Few observers had expected Monday’s vote to change the election result. With Trump’s legal challenges faltering, the president’s weak hopes of holding on to power lie in persuading Congress not to endorse the Electoral College vote in a special session on January 6 – an attempt almost certainly in failure.
Trump has also pressed Republican lawmakers in states that Biden won, such as Pennsylvania and Michigan, to leave vote totals aside and set their own competing voter lists. But lawmakers have largely rejected the idea.
I fought hard for President Trump. “Nobody wants him to win more than me,” Chatfield, the Republican chair of the Michigan House of Representatives, told me in a statement. But I love our republic, too. I cannot understand the risking our customs, traditions and institutions to pass a retroactive voter-change resolution to Trump. “
In Arizona, at the start of the voters’ meeting there, the state’s Democratic Secretary of State, Katie Hobbs, said Trump’s fraud allegations “have led to threats of violence against me, against my office and those in this room today,” echoing similar reports of threats and intimidation in other countries.
“While there will be those who are upset whose candidate has not won, it is clearly un-American and unacceptable that today’s event is less than an honorable tradition held with pride and celebration,” Hobbes said.
A group of Trump supporters on Facebook called for protests throughout the day Monday in Lansing, Michigan, outside the state Capitol, which was closed to the public as a security precaution.
But by the early afternoon, only a few had gathered, including Bob Ray, 66, a retired construction worker. He was carrying a sign that read: “Ask for a forensic review”, “Save America” and “Stop Communism.”
Voters received police escort to and from the building. One female voter, Marseille Allen, told MSNBC that she was wearing a bulletproof vest at the request of family and friends.
A small group of Republicans claiming to be voters for their party sought to reach the Capitol while proceedings were underway, but the police refused them entry.
They asked to hand over a list to Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer, but the officer at the door told them he would not hand over the papers and that they had to contact officials independently.
Trump said late last month that he would leave the White House if the Electoral College voted for Biden, but he has shown little interest since then in the abdication. On Monday, he repeated a series of unsupported allegations.
He wrote on Twitter: “The swing states that have found massive fraud on voters, all of them, cannot legally certify that these votes are complete and correct without committing a severely punishable crime.”
Trump’s only job remaining is to persuade Congress to reject the results in January.
Under federal law, any member of Congress may object to a specific state’s election count during the January 6 session. Each House of Congress must then debate the challenge before a simple majority vote on its continuation.
The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives is sure to reject any such challenge, while the top Republican senators in the Senate on Monday rejected the idea of canceling the result.
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