President-elect Joe Biden’s victory was ratified by the Electoral College on Monday, bucking President Donald Trump’s longshot effort to overturn the results of the election through an unprecedented pressure campaign on the traditionally uneventful, ceremonial process.
- Biden garnered more than 270 electoral votes after California electors cast their ballots Monday afternoon; the final count ended at 306-232, with no electors defecting this year.
- The vote pushes Biden one step closer to the White House: the ballots will now be tallied and sent as signed “certificates” to various officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, before Biden’s victory is officially rubber stamped by Congress during a special session on January 6.
- The Electoral College vote typically receives little attention, but this year Trump has attempted to bend the centuries’ old process to his will by pressuring Republican officials in Pennsylvania, Georgia and Michigan to throw out the will of voters in their state and choose a slate of electors that would back him instead.
- In November, Trump separately invited Michigan and Pennsylvania lawmakers to the White House in an apparent ploy to float the idea of an Electoral College coup; he also called Gov. Brian Kemp (R-Ga.) earlier this month, hoping the governor would call a special session of the state legislature so the GOP majority could choose new Trump-friendly electors.
"In this battle for the soul of America, democracy prevailed,” Biden said during remarks in Wilmington, Delaware after the Electoral College confirmed his win. “We, the people, voted. Faith in our institutions held. Now it’s time to turn the page."
As official electors voted across the country Monday, so-called pro-Trump “electors” met in battleground states Trump lost to cast a protest vote for the president. The maneuver will have no impact on the outcome of the election due to the Electoral Count Act.
Americans do not vote directly for presidential candidates, instead casting votes for electors that vote for the popular vote winner in that particular state. The Constitution does not require electors to cast their votes for the winner of the popular vote in their state, though 32 states have laws on the books mandating electors do so, according to the Associated Press.
In 2016, seven electors “defected” but it was not nearly enough to change the result of the election. Trump lost two electoral votes that he technically won, shaving his total to 304.
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Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), a fierce Trump ally, is spearheading an effort to overturn the results in Congress, though it seems destined to fail. Under the 1887 Electoral Count Act, lawmakers can object to election results in specific states during the special session of Congress on January 6. However, the objection must be signed by both a member of the House and a senator for it to kick off a debate. Then, both the House and Senate would have to vote in favor for a state’s result to be thrown out, something that has not occurred since the 1800s, according to the New York Times.