Electors meeting to formally choose Joe Biden as next president


Presidential electors coast to coast are casting the votes that will choose Joe Biden as the United States’ next president, a formality that has taken on added importance this year because of President Donald Trump’s refusal to concede he lost his race for re-election.

With heightened security in place in some states, Democratic electors in the key battleground states of Arizona, Georgia, Nevada and Pennsylvania gave Mr Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris their votes on Monday in low-key proceedings. Nevada’s electors met via Zoom because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Monday was the day set by law for the meeting of the Electoral College. In reality, electors were meeting in all 50 states and the District of Columbia to cast their ballots. The results will be sent to Washington and tallied in a January 6 joint session of Congress over which Vice President Mike Pence will preside.
Connecticut’s Presidential Electoral Chair Susan Barrett casts her electoral ballot for President of the United States Monday, Dec. 14, 2020 in the Senate Chamber of the State Capitol. (Brad Horrigan/Hartford Courant via AP)

There have been concerns about safety for the electors, virtually unheard of in previous years. In Michigan, lawmakers from both parties reported receiving threats.

Legislative offices there were closed Monday over threats of violence. The 16 electors were to meet in the Senate chamber in a ceremony headed by Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Mr Biden won the state by 154,000 votes, or 2.8 percentage points, over Mr Trump.

Members of Wisconsin’s Electoral College cast their votes at the state Capitol in Madison, Wis., Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. (AP Photo/Morry Gash, Pool)

Amber McCann, spokeswoman for Republican Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, said the closures were made on recommendations from law enforcement “based on credible threats of violence.”

Georgia state police were out in force at the state Capitol in Atlanta before Democratic electors pledged to Mr Biden met. There were no protesters to be seen less than an hour ahead of the meeting.

Even as the Electoral College was formally confirming Mr Biden’s victory, some Republicans continued to refuse to acknowledge that reality. Yet their opposition to Mr Biden had no practical effect on the electoral process, with the Democrat to be sworn in on January 20.

President-elect Joe Biden speaks in Wilmington, Delaware. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Despite Mr Biden’s wins in Georgia and Pennsylvania, Republicans who would have been Trump electors met anyway. Pennsylvania Republicans said they cast a “procedural vote” for Mr Trump and Mr Pence in case courts that have repeatedly rejected challenges to Mr Biden’s victory were to somehow still determine that Mr Trump had won.

In North Carolina, Iowa and other states across the South and Midwest where Mr Trump won, his electors turned out to duly cast their ballots for him.

In New Hampshire, before the state’s four electors voted for Mr Biden at the State House in Concord, 13-year-old Brayden Harrington led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance. He had delivered a moving speech at the Democratic National Convention in August about the struggle with stuttering he shares with Mr Biden.

A member of Iowa’s Electoral College signs the Certificate of Vote of Electors for the State of Iowa, Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, at the Statehouse in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Vermont’s electors were the first in the nation to vote Monday and they chose Mr Biden and Ms Harris.

Mr Biden is to address the nation Monday night local time, after the electors have voted. Mr Trump, meanwhile, is clinging to his false claims that he won the election, and trying to undermine Mr Biden’s presidency before it begins.

“No, I worry about the country having an illegitimate president, that’s what I worry about. A president that lost and lost badly,” Mr Trump said in a Fox News interview that was taped on Saturday.

Secretary of the State of Connecticut Denise W. Merrill, left, and Deputy Secretary of State of Connecticut Scott Bates seal certificates of vote with a wax seal Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, in the Senate Chamber of the State Capitol in Hartford, Connecticut. (Brad Horrigan/Hartford Courant via AP)

Following weeks of Republican legal challenges that were easily dismissed by judges, Mr Trump and Republican allies tried to persuade the Supreme Court last week to set aside 62 electoral votes for Biden in four states, which might have thrown the outcome into doubt.

Mr Biden won 306 electoral votes to 232 for Mr Trump. It takes 270 votes to be elected.

In 32 states and the District of Columbia, laws require electors to vote for the popular-vote winner. The Supreme Court unanimously upheld this arrangement in July.

Electors almost always vote for the state winner anyway because they generally are devoted to their political parties. There’s no reason to expect any defections this year. Among prominent electors are Democrat Stacey Abrams of Georgia and Republican Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota.

The voting is decidedly low tech, by paper ballot. Electors cast one vote each for president and vice president.

President Donald Trump
Surrounded by Army cadets, President Donald Trump watches the first half of the 121st Army-Navy Football Game in Michie Stadium at the United States Military Academy, December 12, 2020, in West Point, NY. (AP)

The Electoral College was the product of compromise during the drafting of the Constitution between those who favoured electing the president by popular vote and those who opposed giving the people the power to directly choose their leader.

Each state gets a number of electors equal to its total number of seats in Congress: two senators plus however many members the state has in the House of Representatives. Washington, D.C., has three votes, under a constitutional amendment that was ratified in 1961. With the exception of Maine and Nebraska, states award all their Electoral College votes to the winner of the popular vote in their state.

The bargain struck by the nation’s founders has produced five elections in which the president did not win the popular vote. Mr Trump was the most recent example in 2016.

Mr Biden topped Mr Trump by more than seven million votes this year.

And then there’s one more step: inauguration.

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The author Arup

Arup Mandal is a reporter, contributor, reviewer & image editor of Azad Hind News. Arup have well experience in reporting .

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