The Electoral College formally elected US President-elect Joe Biden as President and Kamala Harris as Vice-President. The electors of the Electoral College met within their respective states on Monday to cast 306 votes in their favour, with his opponent, incumbent US President Donald Trump receiving the other 232.
The tally coming out of California with 55 electors and Hawaii with 4 electors concluded the voting process.
The highlights of the vote were the members of Electors College in Arizona reportedly meeting and casting their votes at an undisclosed location to ensure their safety amid rising threats and bitter election rhetoric, while electors in Michigan were promised police escort from their cars into the State Capitol for the same reason- both swing states. In the State of New York, former US President Bill Clinton and 2016 Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton were two among the state's 29 electors to cast their votes in favour of Biden and Harris.
BOOM explains the Electoral College process here.
This year, there have been no instances of faithless electors - a term used to describe an elector that abstains from voting for a candidate she is pledged to, or cross votes altogether. The Electoral College process in 2016 saw seven faithless electors.
Biden was first projected as US Presidential-elect on November 7, four days after the election on November 3, after he won the swing state of Pennsylvania and crossed the 270 votes mark in the Electoral College.
Biden will be sworn in as US President on January 20 next year.
Trump yet to concede
The formal election of Biden by the Electoral College comes only a few days after the US Supreme Court unanimously overturned a case by the State of Texas to overturn the election results in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin - all four swing states. The lawsuit received the blessing of Trump, but it several other states had filed pleas with the Supreme Court to junk the lawsuit.
It served as the biggest blow to the Trump administration yet, which has filed a number of lawsuits with several states to overturn the election's result.
The election saw a record turnout - Trump receiving almost 75 million votes, and Biden 81 million. But this turnout was pushed by record mail-in and postal ballots which helped tip the scales in favour of Biden. Due to this, Trump has called the result of the election into question, and has derided postal ballots as an attempt to rig the election against him.
Trump has yet to formally concede the election, breaking from tradition after a US presidential election. US media covering the White House also says that he is unlikely to attend Biden's inauguration, though he has indicated that he would leave the White House if Biden got elected president by Electoral College.
One last part of the election process remains. On January 6 - the US Congress will meet to certify the results of the Electoral College. While this process is nominal, Trump supporters in Congress are threatening to make it chaotic in a final but distant shot to overturn the result.
The President of the Senate - the incumbent Vice-President - calls out results from the Electoral College. Members of US Congress can object to them, provided one member of the Senate and the House of Representatives each provides an objection. Should this arise, the counting is paused and both Houses of US Congress convene and debate the results for up to two hours. For a result to be called into question, both Houses would have to object to them. Congress last determined the presidential election of 1876, in the US Reconstruction Era after its civil war.
The stage is also set for the high-octane Senate runoff in Georgia on January 5, that will determine the efficacy of the incoming Biden administration. Both seats remain underdetermined and open since no candidate could reach the vote threshold under state law. The current tally stands at 50 for the Republicans and 48 for the Democrats in the 100-member House. The Republicans needs at least one seat for a majority. Should both seats go to the Democrats (50 seats to both parties), incoming Vice President Harris will have the tiebreaker casting vote.
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