Electoral College ratifies Biden’s election as US president
Washington, Dec 14 (efe-epa).- The US Electoral College on Monday ratified the election of Joe Biden as the country’s 46th president, dealing a harsh – but not unexpected to most – blow to the campaign of President Donald Trump, who has been strenuously attempting to overturn the results of the Nov. 3 election, claiming voter fraud denied him reelection, although he has presented no evidence to support that.
At about 5:30 pm, the electors from California, gathered at the state legislature, confirmed that the 55 electoral votes of their state would go to Biden, the Democratic nominee in the presidential election.
Those delegates enabled Biden to surpass the 270-vote threshold needed to win the White House several hours after the Electoral College began its state-by-state tally of the electoral votes for the two candidates.
The meetings of the delegates from both the Democratic and Republican parties wound up confirming that Biden won at least 302 electoral votes to Trump’s 232. Hawaii’s four electoral votes had not yet been confirmed although the Democrat handily won in that state and it was a sure thing that he would ultimately acquire those votes as well.
The process also ratified the election of Biden’s running mate – California Sen. Kamala Harris – who will be the first women and the first person of black and/or South Asian heritage to serve as US vice president when they are both inaugurated on Jan. 20, 2021.
Under the US electoral system, the states’ delegates to the Electoral College are the ones who actually confirm the popular vote in each state, and this fact can result in a candidate who has not actually won the nationwide popular vote being confirmed as president, a situation that has arisen on several occasions over the country’s history.
The main US media outlets had already forecast on Nov. 7 that Biden would obtain 306 electoral votes, thus defeating Trump’s reelection bid, but the latter has still refused to acknowledge his loss.
Trump’s unprecedented campaign to overturn the election result had given special importance to the Electoral College vote, although in the past it had been merely a bureaucratic formality to ratify a result that was already well-known and acknowledged by the losing candidates.
The confirmation of Biden’s victory thus deals the coup de grace to Trump’s attempts to reverse the Nov. 3 election result, although it is still possible that the president – or his supporters – will try to interfere in the last phase of the process, when Congress meets to approve the Electoral College vote on Jan. 6.
Trump did not react immediately to the Electoral College news, but – in an apparent attempt to divert attention from the event – shortly afterwards he took to Twitter to announce that US Attorney General William Barr, with whom he has had significant disagreements over the election issue, will resign from his Cabinet in the coming days.
Meanwhile, Biden is scheduled to deliver a speech about 7:30 pm in which he will ask Americans to “turn the page” on the political tensions that have beset the country and unite after what has proven to be a convulsive and tumultuous electoral season.
“In this battle for the soul of America, democracy prevailed,” Biden will say, according to preliminary extracts 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.”