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Electoral College affirms Joe Biden-Kamala Harris victory

By
Daniel Uria & Don Jacobson
The Electoral College on Monday was cast the deciding votes to elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris president and vice president. File Photo by Pat Benic/UPI
The Electoral College on Monday was cast the deciding votes to elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris president and vice president. File Photo by Pat Benic/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 14 (UPI) -- Joe Biden and Kamala Harris officially received 306 electoral votes to be elected president and vice president as the Electoral College cast votes Monday, following weeks of efforts by President Donald Trump to cast doubt on the election process.

Shortly after 5 p.m. EST, California cast its 55 electoral votes in favor of Biden and Harris, pushing them above the 270 vote total required to be elected president and vice president, respectively.

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Hawaii, which Biden won, was the final state to cast its votes, giving them a total of 306 votes, with 232 votes going to Trump.

Electors in the key swing states of Georgia and Pennsylvania -- where the Trump campaign bitterly contested the election results in a series of lawsuits -- also cast a total of 36 votes for Biden and Harris.

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Earlier, electors in Nevada also cast their six votes for Biden in a virtual meeting. The Nevada Supreme Court had just rejected a Trump lawsuit alleging the election results were "rigged."

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who won the popular vote over Donald Trump in 2016, but lost the electoral vote, was among the New York electors for Biden and Harris -- the first woman to serve as vice president.

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Political activist Stacey Abrams, who turned her defeat for Georgia governor into a get-out-the-vote campaign, presided over the Georgia electors' meeting.

"I was honored to preside over today's meeting of Georgia electors and to cast my vote for @JoeBiden and @KamalaHarris, the first Democrats to win GA since 1992," Abrams tweeted. "Together, we will restore the soul of our nation, build our economy back better and recover from the pandemic."

Voting began again in Georgia on Monday for two runoffs that will determine which party has control of the U.S. Senate in January.

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The Electoral College vote is came after all 50 states and Washington, D.C., certified their votes and named slates of electors.

Under the Constitution, each state receives a number of electors equal to the number of their seats in Congress and, with the exception of Maine and Nebraska, every state awards those votes to the winner of the state's popular vote.

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Those electors met Monday in locations chosen by each state legislature and casti one vote for president and another for vice president on paper ballots.

After the votes were counted, the electors from each state signed six certificates with the results, which are then paired with a certificate from the governor.

One of these copies goes to the president of the U.S. Senate to be officially counted. Two copies go sent to the state's secretary of state, two copies are delivered to National Archives and Records Administration and one backup copy goes to the presiding judge in the district in which the electors met.

Laws require electors to cast their ballots for the winner of the state's popular vote in 32 states and Washington, D.C. It is uncommon for electors to vote against their state's selection in numbers large enough to affect an election. However, 10 electors did so in 2016.

In July, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that states can punish electors who formally cast the votes for president of the United States, but go against the majority of their state.

The Senate will convene Jan. 6 for a session, presided over by Pence, where they will count the votes, followed by the inauguration on Jan. 20.

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In Michigan, officials closed the state House and Senate office buildings during the Electoral College meeting due to security concerns. Amber McCann, a spokeswoman for Senate Republican Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, said law enforcement made the recommendation.

Michigan State Police Lt. Darren Green said it was monitoring social media and other communications. In October, 13 men were charged in connection with a kidnapping plot against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

The state's Republican legislative leaders on Monday repeated an earlier pledge not to attempt to overturn the popular vote or interfere with the electors.

"While there are some who still argue this should not take place, we must recognize that our feelings, our desires, and our disappointments are subordinate to the health of our democracy and the will of the majority," Shirkey said in a statement.

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