Joe Biden says democracy ‘proved to be resilient’ after Hawaii casts final ballots in Electoral College – USA TODAY

0
62

WASHINGTON — Nearly six weeks after Americans voted Joe Biden the next president, the Electoral College met Monday to make President Donald Trump’s electoral loss official.

In statehouses across the country, 538 electors formally cast their votes for either Biden or Trump based on the popular votes in their states.

Biden, the president-elect, and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris received 306 electoral votes, topping 232 for Trump. The electoral votes will now be counted at a special joint session of Congress on Jan 6. before Biden and Harris are inaugurated Jan. 20.

Here is how Monday played out across the country.

‘Time to turn the page’: Biden gives speech after Electoral College victory

President-elect Joe Biden spoke Monday night after all states cast their Electoral College votes, confirming him as the winner of the presidential election with 306 votes to President Donald Trump’s 232.

Biden noted Trump had called his own Electoral College victory a “landslide” four years ago when he won the same number of votes as Biden this year.

“By his own standards these numbers represented a clear victory then, and I respectfully suggest they do so now,” Biden said Monday.

Biden continued that the record turnout of voters is something that “should be celebrated not attacked,” especially during a pandemic, and slammed the baseless claims of fraud, and “unconscionable” attacks against election workers.

He also said legal challenges put forth by Trump, his legal team, and allies “were heard by more than 80 judges across this country and in every case no cause or evidence was found to reverse or question or dispute the results.”

He noted the Supreme Court “immediately and completely rejected” the efforts by Trump and some allies in trying to overturn the results of the election.

“The Court sent a clear signal to President Trump that they would be no part of an unprecedented assault on our democracy,” Biden said.

Biden stated that in 2016 “I did my job” as the Vice President to certify the election for Trump, “Now it’s time to turn the page as we’ve done throughout our history.”

“Our democracy — pushed, tested and threatened — proved to be resilient, true, and strong,” Biden said.

–Savannah Behrmann

Hawaii becomes final state to cast Electoral College votes

Hawaii, the last state where electors were meeting Monday evening, certified their four electoral votes for Joe Biden for the 2020 general election.

Hawaii’s four electors gathered at 7 p.m. ET, where they quickly and without issue certified the state’s votes. 

With those final votes, Biden officially had 306 electoral votes while President Donald Trump was at 232.

– Rebecca Morin

GOP lawmakers slowly begin to recognize Biden as president-elect following electoral college vote

Congressional Republicans began the long-awaited pivot to recognize Joe Biden as the president-elect following the Electoral College vote Monday.

“As soon as he crosses the 270 vote threshold, I mean there are still a couple of, I guess, last steps in the process, but in my view that’s how in this country we decide presidential elections, that’s our Constitution, and I believe in following the Constitution,” Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., told reporters on Capitol Hill.

“I understand there are people who feel strongly about the outcome of this election, but in the end at some point you have to face the music,” he said. “And I think once the electoral college settles the issue today, it’s time for everybody to move on.”

Thune’s voice is an important one. He’s the second most powerful Republican in the Senate, behind only Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

He was not the only one who recognized Biden after a weeks-long effort by President Donald Trump and his GOP allies in Congress to baselessly denounce the Nov. 3 election as illegitimate because of unproven claims of widespread voter fraud.

“Vice President Biden is the president-elect,” Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo, told reporters.

West Virginia GOP Sen. Shelley Moore Capito was asked if Biden could now be called president-elect.

“It certainly looks that way, and I think it’s time to turn the page and begin a new administration,” she said.

– Ledyard King

California puts Joe Biden over the Electoral College threshold 

President-elect Joe Biden has once again solidified his win in the 2020 election, passing the 270 electoral vote threshold needed to become president.

California’s 55 electoral votes pushed Biden over the line after the state’s electors cast their votes at 5:30 p.m. EST.

“In this battle for the soul of America, democracy prevailed,” Biden will say during remarks at 7:30 p.m., according to excerpts released by his transition team. “We the People voted. Faith in our institutions held. The integrity of our elections remains intact. And so, now it is time to turn the page. To unite. To heal.”

States held Electoral College meetings across the nation Monday, where electors voted for the candidate who won their respective state. One more state is still yet to vote: Hawaii, which Biden won.

According to excerpts of his prepared remarks, Biden will say “In America, politicians don’t take power — the people grant it to them.”

“The flame of democracy was lit in this nation a long time ago,” he will continue. “And we now know that nothing — not even a pandemic —or an abuse of power — can extinguish that flame.”

– Rebecca Morin

Michigan becomes sixth state contested by Trump to vote for Biden

Michigan’s 16 electors voted Monday afternoon for Joe Biden for president and Kamala Harris for vice president, making it the last of six states contested by Trump to hand victory to the former Democratic vice president.

The vote came as Republican Michigan electors showed up at the state capitol in Lansing anyway, arguing they’re the electors who should get to vote. Law enforcement officials did not let them enter the building.

“The people have spoken,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, kicking off the state’s Electoral College meeting. “It was a safe, fair, and secure election. It was the kind of election our founding founders envisioned when they created this democracy and built this country.”

More:Michigan’s Electoral College delegates cast all 16 votes for Joe Biden, Kamala Harris

Whitmer, regularly criticized by Trump and his allies, added: “After today, the results will be final. It’s time to move forward together as one United States of America. Now is the time for us to put this election behind us and to focus our efforts together to defeat our common enemy: COVID-19.”

Biden won Michigan by more than 154,188 votes over Trump, 15 times the margin that Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016. Trump has leveled baseless claims of voter fraud to argue the election in Michigan and other battleground states he lost was stolen.

– Joey Garrison

First woman of color in Nebraska Electoral College awards Biden one of state’s five votes

Nebraska’s electors met in a hearing room in the state Capitol to cast their ballots Monday.

The formal vote was quick and generally subdued. But when it was announced that Precious McKesson, the first woman of color to serve as an elector in Nebraska, according to the Omaha World-Herald, had cast the 2nd Congressional District’s vote for President elect-Joe Biden, applause filled the room.

More:First woman of color elector in Nebraska casts Electoral College vote for Joe Biden

Though President Donald Trump won nearly 59% of the vote in Nebraska, only four of the state’s five electors voted for him because it is one of two states, along with Maine, that does not award its electors based on a winner-take-all system.

While two electors go to the winner of the popular vote in the state, Nebraska’s remaining three electors are awarded to the winner of each of its congressional districts.

– William Cummings 

Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, a member of Wisconsin's Electoral College, casts his vote at the state Capitol in Madison, Wis., Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. (AP Photo/Morry Gash, Pool)

After final lawsuit gets tossed, Wisconsin electors vote for Joe Biden

Wisconsin’s 10 electors voted for Joe Biden for president and Kamala Harris for vice president Monday, becoming the fifth state contested by Trump to formalize their votes for the Democratic nominee.

“We made it,” Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, a Democratic delegate in the state, said after he announced the results.

The Electoral College vote in Wisconsin came less than one hour after its state Supreme Court upheld Biden’s Wisconsin win a 4-3 ruling, finding one of Trump’s arguments was without merit and the others were brought far too late.

Biden defeated Trump by 20,608 votes in Wisconsin on Nov. 3.

One of the state’s Democratic electors, Khary Penebaker, drew a heart around his votes for Biden and Harris.

“This moment is overwhelming and that is the first thing that came to my mind,” he told The New York Times.

– Joey Garrison and Patrick Marley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Republicans electors gather in Georgia, Pennsylvania to cast votes for Trump

Some Republicans who refuse to acknowledge the reality of President-elect Joe Biden’s win are meeting to cast ceremonial votes for President Donald Trump.

On the day the Electoral College is set to formally confirm Biden’s victory, Trump loyalists in Pennsylvania met in Harrisburg and cast what they described as a “conditional vote” for Trump. The state Republican Party says the Trump electors met at the request of the campaign.

In Georgia, another battleground state Trump lost, an alternate Republican slate cast ceremonial votes for Trump at the same time Georgia’s 16 Electoral College votes were cast for Biden.

The opposition to Biden has no practical effect on the electoral process, with the Democrat set to be sworn in on Jan. 20.

The Electoral College vote is normally a fairly procedural step in the presidential election, but its importance is heightened this year because Trump is refusing to concede his loss. He and his allies have filed roughly 50 lawsuits and most have been dropped or dismissed by judges, including twice by the U.S. Supreme Court.

– Associated Press

Alabama and Kansas officially cast their ballots for Trump and Pence

Alabama’s nine electors on Monday all cast their votes for President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, who won the state with 62% of the vote, as did the six electors for Kansas, which Trump and Pence won with 56%.

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill commended the electors for casting their votes for Trump despite what he claimed was a “concerted national effort” pressuring them to switch their votes.

The most lengthy address before Alabama’s electors voted was delivered by Uncle Sam, portrayed by J. Danny Cooper. He spoke about how the Electoral College came to be, beginning with the Articles of Confederation.

The Kansas electors, who were each awarded $3 in accordance with state law, voted in a much shorter and more perfunctory event. Before adjourning, Secretary of State Scott Schwab thanked the electors and said presiding over the vote had been a “great honor” and “kind of neat.”

“Don’t spend the three bucks all in one place,” Schwab said.

– William Cummings

Four states contested by Trump have cast electoral votes for Biden

Electors in three battleground states – Pennsylvania, Georgia and Arizona – each voted for Joe Biden for president and Kamala Harris for vice president Monday, delivering a collective blow to President Donald Trump.

The votes, which came before 1 p.m. ET, gave Biden 20 electoral votes from Pennsylvania, 16 from Georgia and 11 from Arizona. Nevada earlier cast its ballots for Biden, meaning four of six states contested by Trump have completed their votes.

“The people have spoken, and we respect the majesty of the democratic system” said Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar, a Democrat, quoting President George H.W. Bush as she kicked off her state’s meeting. “Your participation today in this Electoral College proves once again the durability of our constitution and the majesty of our democracy. In this historic moment, our democracy rests here with you.”

Democrat Stacey Abrams, walks on Senate floor before of members of Georgia's Electoral College cast their votes at the state Capitol, Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, Pool)

The action came after Trump targeted each state with lawsuits based on meritless claims of widespread voter fraud in a bid to overturn the election. He also unsuccessfully tried to convince the three state’s Republican-led legislatures to certify their own slates of Trump electors.

‘The moment of truth’:The Electoral College prepares to hand Trump the loss he refuses to accept

“We are the state that put Joseph R. Biden and Kamala Harris over the 270 Electoral College threshold,” said Nancy Patton Mills, chairwoman of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party and a Pennsylvania elector, drawing applause. “We are the state that returned the dignity and honor to the United States of America.”

In Georgia, Stacey Abrams, the former minority leader in Georgia’s House of Representatives who has been a passionate voting rights advocate since her narrow 2018 defeat in the Peach State’s gubernatorial race, presided over the vote. 

Abrams, who was one of 16 electors, described how she had moved many times in her life before she “planted my flag in my feet here in Georgia.” She said seeing Georgia vote for a Democratic presidential candidate for the first time since 1992 was “a moment for me that I have dreamed about, because I realized I couldn’t move again.”

“We stand, not for ourselves and not for our party, but for the people of Georgia. It is on their behalf that we took up this charge to be electors,” Abrams said.

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs during remarks ahead of Arizona’s vote Monday said the state’s 11 electors took an oath to “support the constitution and laws of the United States of America, and the state of Arizona, and to defend them against all enemies, foreign and domestic to the best of my ability.”

More:Arizona’s electors cast state’s 11 votes for President-elect Joe Biden

“That is what we have done this year in this election,” Hobbs said. “And while there will be those who are upset their candidate didn’t win, it is patently un-American and unacceptable that today’s event should be anything less than an honored tradition, held with pride and in celebration.”

In closing remarks, Hobbs noted “it is evident that this is not the end of the discussion about the 2020 election, nor how we conduct elections going forward.”

“This is likely the beginning of a lengthy debate about how to reclaim faith in our democratic institutions,” she said. “I look forward to those discussions with people of good intent and interest, and rebuilding our faith in each other.”

– Joey Garrison, Rebecca Morin, William Cummings

Electors recite the Pledge of Allegiance during Tennessee’s 2020 Electoral College at the State Capitol in Nashville, Tenn., Monday, Dec. 14, 2020.

Bill, Hillary Clinton cast electoral votes for Joe Biden in New York

Shortly after the Electoral College met at noon, New York’s 29 electoral votes were cast for Joe Biden.

While presiding over New York’s Electoral College as president, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo took a moment to thank President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The Clintons were the first of the electors to cast their votes.

The state’s electoral college met in person, abiding with CDC recommendations on masks and social distancing.

– Sarah Elbeshbishi

Republicans will submit alternate slates of electors, Trump aide says

Republicans in battleground states where President Donald Trump lost to Joe Biden plan to meet Monday to appoint their own slates of electors whose votes will be submitted to Congress, according to a top Trump aide.

“We have more than enough time to right the wrong from this fraudulent election result and certify Donald Trump as the winner of the election,” Stephen Miller, a Trump senior advisor, said during an appearance on Fox and Friends on Monday morning.

“As we speak today, an alternate slate of electors in the contested states is going to vote and we’re going to send those votes up to Congress. This will ensure all of our legal remedies will remain open.”

More:How the Electoral College works – and how it affected battleground states in 2020

Trump failed to convince state lawmakers in states he lost such as Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Georgia to certify their own separate slates of Trump electors. But Trump electors could still choose to meet on their own.

With Biden certified the winner, Democratic electors received notification to appear from governors or secretaries of states in the six states Trump contested: Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Georgia, Arizona and Nevada. Trump electors did not. Unlike potential unofficial meetings of Trump electors in these states, the Biden electors will be appearing at statehouses with state election officials overseeing proceedings.

Election experts have long suspected the Trump team, in a plot to overturn the election, could try to send competing electors to Congress, which holds a joint session on Jan. 6 to count “all the certificates and papers purporting to be certificates of the electoral votes.”

But Ned Foley, director of the election law program at Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law, said that even on the “off-chance” that there was a rival submission of electoral votes, it would lack the votes to move forward. The House, controlled by Democrats, would quickly shoot down the effort, he said, and enough Republican senators would probably oppose the move as well.

– Joey Garrison

Nevada's slate of Democratic electors for the Electoral College meet virtually Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, to cast the states votes for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

Electors in 10 states cast their votes before noon

As Electoral College meetings take place across the country Monday, electors in 10 states had already cast their votes by noon EST.

Nevada, the first state to vote Monday where President Donald Trump’s campaign had contested results, cast their ballots around 11:30 a.m. EST. It was the first state to meet virtually and the six electors held up their ballots on screen to verify the votes. The electors voted for President-elect Joe Biden.

Electors in Indiana, New Hampshire, Tennessee, Vermont, Arkansas, Illinois, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Iowa all met in person to vote for their state’s respective winners.

“These last four years have demonstrated how important it is to have elected leaders with confidence and good values,” said Lauren Beth Gash, an Illinois elector for Biden and former state lawmaker. “We stood in determination to fight for our democracy, to show the country and the world, once again, the best the United States has to offer. I’m honored to cast my Electoral College vote to confirm a team that will work to repair our image and lead us into a brighter future.”

– Rebecca Morin and Joey Garrison

N.H. has women of color as ‘honorary hosts in honor of Kamala Harris 

Four women of color were named the “honorary hosts” of the Electoral College meeting in New Hampshire on Monday in honor of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ historic election. Harris will be the first Black woman and first Asian American vice president.

House Rep. Latha Mangipudi, former State Sen. Melanie Levesque,former state Rep. Jackie Weatherspoon, and Maitri Chittidi were the honorary hosts.

Mangipudi and Chittidi are of Indian descent and Levesque and Weatherspoon are Black women.

– Rebecca Morin

Here is when the Electoral College will meet in each state

Electoral College meetings begin Monday, with Indiana, New Hampshire, Tennessee and Vermont the first states to have their electors meet at 10 a.m. EST.

Here are the times Electoral College electors will meet in each state:

  • 10 a.m. EST: Indiana, New Hampshire, Tennessee, Vermont
  • 11 a.m. EST: Arkansas, Illinois, Mississippi, South Carolina
  • 11:30 a.m. EST: Iowa, Nevada
  • 11:45 a.m. EST: Kentucky
  • Noon EST: Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, Montana, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia
  • 12:30 p.m. EST: Louisiana
  • 1 p.m. EST: Alabama, Kansas, Minnesota, New Mexico, South Dakota, Wisconsin
  • 1: 45 p.m. EST: Colorado
  • 2 p.m. EST: Florida, Idaho, Maine, Michigan, Nebraska, Utah, West Virginia, Wyoming
  • 3 p.m. EST: Alaska, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey, Texas, Washington
  • 4:30 p.m. EST: Oregon
  • 5 p.m. EST: California
  • 7 p.m. EST: Hawaii

– Rebecca Morin

Vermont kicks off Electoral College vote, casting first votes for Biden

Vermont became the first state to vote in Monday’s Electoral College meeting at 10:11 a.m. ET, with the state’s three Democratic electors voting for President-elect Joe Biden and President-elect Kamala Harris.

Electors spent no time debating. They each voted, took photos of the ballots on their cell phones and signed the six election certificates that will be distributed to Vice President Mike Pence in his role as Senate President, and others.

Biden defeated Trump in heavily Democratic Vermont by a margin of 66%-31%.

Vermont Presidential elector Kesha Ram fills out her presidential ballot at the Statehouse in Montpelier, Vt., on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020.

“It’s not my first rodeo up here,” Vermont Secretary of State James Condos, a Democrat, said after the meeting that lasted just 11 minutes.

Shortly after Vermont’s action, Tennessee’s 11 Republican electors voted for Donald Trump and Mike Pence, becoming the second state to vote in the Electoral College meeting.

At 10:40 a.m., New Hampshire’s four electors sealed the last documents to vote for Biden and Harris, becoming the third state on the book. Indiana’s 11 electors met a little after 10 a.m. to cast their votes for President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, who won the state.

– Joey Garrison and Rebecca Morin

Joe Biden team says Electoral College will ‘reinforce’ win

A top aide for President-elect Joe Biden said the outcome of Monday’s Electoral College vote will “reinforce” the former vice president’s election victory, while also downplaying potential further attempts by President Donald Trump to overturn the election.

“It takes on a little more import than maybe traditionally it does,” Jen O’Malley-Dillon, Biden’s campaign manager, told reporters about the Electoral College vote. “It will clearly reinforce what exactly what’s been true for weeks and weeks and weeks. The president-elect and the vice president-elect have won. They’ve won clearly. They’re going to have 306 electoral votes from this broad coalition of voters.”

Biden is set to deliver remarks on the Electoral College at 8 p.m. EST from Wilmington, Delaware, after most of the 50 states and the District of Columbia will have cast their votes for president.

O’Malley-Dillon, Biden’s incoming deputy chief of staff in the new administration, downplayed reports that congressional allies of Trump might contest the Electoral College results on Jan. 6, when a joint session of Congress convenes to count the electoral votes.

“Of course, there’s going to be more distractions out there,” O’Malley, pointing to the Trump team’s success rate of winning “1-in 58” court challenges they’ve filed targeting the election.

“We see that. But While Trump and many Republicans are focused on those kinds of distractions, the president-elect and the vice president-elect are focused on building their team and staying laser-focused on the crises we’re in in this country.”

– Joey Garrison

Michigan state House, Senate close over ‘threats of violence’ 

Michigan state House and Senate office buildings will be closed Monday during the meeting of the Electoral College due to security concerns, an official said Monday.

The Capitol will also be closed to the public, as was announced earlier.

Amber McCann, a spokeswoman for state Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, said the Senate closed its facilities for Monday “based on recommendations from law enforcement.”

“The decision was not made because of anticipated protests, but based on credible threats of violence,” McCann said late Sunday.

Gideon D’Assandro, a spokesman for House Speaker Lee Chatfield, R-Levering, would not specify the potential threat.

– Paul Egan (Detroit Free Press)

Michigan:Michigan State House, Senate close over ‘threats of violence’ during Electoral College meeting

Meetings begin at 10 a.m. EST; here’s what you can expect 

The Electoral College meetings, which begin as early as 10 a.m. in a few states, are scheduled for different times throughout the day, and they will be brief. Electors are tasked with simply casting ballots for their candidate and signing six election certificates that will be delivered to Vice President Mike Pence, the president of the Senate, among others.

The meetings are likely to draw protests from Trump supporters at some state capitols and receive extra security. The president has argued, without evidence, that the election was rife with voter fraud and stolen from him, galvanizing his core supporters around his cause. He has lost a barrage of court challenges seeking to overturn the election.

A supporter of President-elect Joe Biden holds up his mobile phone to display the electoral college map outside the Philadelphia Convention Center after the 2020 Presidential Election is called, Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/John Minchillo) ORG XMIT: PAJL127

Americans who voted in last month’s presidential election voted to appoint electors pledged for either Democratic nominee Biden, Republican nominee Trump, or nominees of third parties. Those electors formally vote for president, and a state’s population determines how many electors it has.

Chosen by state parties earlier this year, electors are primarily party activists. Those pledged for Trump will convene in states the president won, while Biden electors will meet in states the former vice president carried, based on the certified election results in each state. 

Trump failed to convince state lawmakers in states he lost like Michigan, Pennsylvania and Georgia to certify their own separate slates of Trump electors. It means Monday will lack the drama of competing slates of electors casting votes, spoiling a dubious legal strategy pursued by the Trump team.

Minimizing more chance for suspense, the Supreme Court ruled last year that states can decide whether to prohibit so-called “faithless” electors who buck the will of the voters and their party. Thirty-two states bind the electors’ votes.

Recognizing defeat in the Electoral College, Trump and his allies are eying Jan. 6 in their final far-fetched effort to overturn the election. Some House Republicans have signaled plans to contest slates of electors submitted by battleground states like Pennsylvania and Georgia. But they would need support from a senator to have their objections considered. The two chambers would meet separately to entertain any objections. 

— Joey Garrison

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here