Members of the electoral college in each of the six battlefield states where President Donald Trump disputed the results most fiercely cast their votes for Democrat Joe Biden on Monday, effectively blocking the president’s path to overthrow the elections.
The vote marks the turning point some Republican lawmakers have announced to signal the end of their support for attempts to overturn the November 3 election.
The 16 voters in Michigan voted for Biden after previously casting 63 votes in Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Biden will have enough votes to be officially declared president-elect when members have cast 270 ballots, which is expected after the California vote. Congress will officially count the votes on January 6th.
Voters in 50 states and the District of Columbia vote for the President and Vice President in longstanding constitutional ceremonies that attracted renewed attention this year after Trump refused to admit and insisted without evidence that the election was “rigged.”
Many Republicans have refused to acknowledge Biden’s victory, indulging in Trump’s unsubstantiated claims about a stolen election, and saying he has the right to pursue legal challenges and let the process go. And now that the voters cast their votes, it has.
“There is obviously a certain finality to the electoral college,” South Dakota Republican Senator John Thune, No. 2 Republican, told reporters last week. And Lindsey Graham, GOP Senator from South Carolina, another Trump ally, said when asked if the president should admit, “I’ll speak to you on December 14th.”
Trump said on Fox News Sunday that he would continue to fight the results even after the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday rejected an offer from Texas to annul election results in four of the six battlefield states – a case the President had called “The Great,” backed by Republican attorneys-general in 18 states and 126 Republican members of Congress.
Republicans said Trump voters who weren’t certified would have met in Georgia, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin to cast votes if pending litigation turned the results upside down. But any attempt to get Congress to consider a rival electoral roll will “not work as a legal matter,” said Edward Foley, a professor and director of an electoral program at Ohio State University who has studied controversial elections.
Later on Monday, Biden will urge the country to join forces once the process is complete.
“The flame of democracy was kindled in this nation a long time ago. And we now know that nothing – not even a pandemic or abuse of power – can put out that flame, ”Biden will say, according to prepared comments that his transition team announced they would deliver on Monday night. “And now it’s time to turn the page. Unite. Heal.”
The president’s campaign and his allies filed dozens of lawsuits to invalidate Biden’s victories in the battlefield states, and almost all of them were rejected for lack of evidence of fraud. The president has pressured Republicans in Congress and across the states to help overthrow the elections and urged state lawmakers to appoint rival Trump voters.
Rick Bloomingdale, a Pennsylvania Biden voter, said ahead of the meeting in the state capital in Harrisburg that he was confident his vote would be counted and that Trump’s efforts to topple the election would fail.
“At noon on January 20th, Joe Biden will become President of the United States,” said Bloomingdale, president of the AFL-CIO of Pennsylvania. “It’s mind-boggling to me that we have people who are actually trying to carry out a coup and take the votes away from the voters.”
Pennsylvania Elector Paige Gebhardt Cognetti said she was especially proud to vote for Biden because she served as vice president of the U.S. Treasury Department and is now mayor of Scranton, his youth home.
“It shouldn’t matter who your parents voted for. If you’re a kid growing up in Scranton, you should know you can be president,” said Cognetti.
Most voters meet in their state capitals with restricted access and social distancing due to the coronavirus pandemic. Nevada conducted its meeting exclusively by videoconferencing, and Arizona did not publicly disclose the location of its meeting to keep it “low key.”
Some states had protests against Trump’s election outside the electoral college in 2016, and demonstrations could take place this year. Trump supporters gathered in Washington on Saturday to protest and at times clashed with counter-demonstrators and police.
Police should escort state voters from a parking garage to the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing, said Elector Chris Cracchiolo, chairman of the Grand Traverse Democratic Party and vice chairman of the Michigan Democratic Party.
Previously: Republicans Block Opening Resolution Recognizing Biden’s Victory
“When I volunteered, I found it a bit ceremonial,” Cracchiolo said before the meeting. “Since November 3rd, the scope and importance of this role seems to increase every day.”
The Michigan Legislature was closed for security reasons, and the Legislature stripped Republican State Representative Gary Eisen of his committee posts Monday after lawmakers announced they were part of a potentially violent protest aimed at overturning the state’s electoral college vote.
“I know this is not the result some want,” said Republican Michigan House spokesman Lee Chatfield in a statement in support of the electoral college vote for Biden. “But we have a republic if we can keep it. And that’s what I intend to do. “
When US voters cast ballots in a presidential race, they are actually voting on the electoral roll of a candidate who casts that state’s votes – one vote for every US representative and senator. The candidate who receives a majority of 538 or 270 votes wins the presidency.
Biden won 306 votes from across the 25 states and the District of Columbia that it sponsors, and voters, who are generally chosen by their political parties, are essentially required to vote for the referendum winner in their state. Trump received 232 votes from the 25 states he won.
The next step is for Congress to aggregate state votes in a joint session on January 6th, chaired by Vice President Mike Pence. There could be a drama if a member of the House and Senate objects to a state’s electoral roll. To do this, each chamber would have to debate and vote on the objection.
Alabama Republican representative Mo Brooks has announced that he will appeal, but no senator has emerged to join him. 75 Pennsylvania Republican lawmakers sent a letter to the state’s Congressional delegation on Dec. 4, asking them to raise objections.
Any objection that resulted in a vote is likely to fail if the Democrats control the house and enough Republican Senators recognize Biden’s victory, said Nathaniel Persily, a Stanford University law professor and an expert on suffrage.
But Monday’s election meeting is the final step for anyone waiting for the process to expire, Persily said.
“That would be constitutionally the end of the road,” he said.