WASHINGTON (AP) — Presidential electors coast to coast were casting the votes Monday (Dec. 14) that will affirm Joe Biden as the nation’s next president.
Heightened security was in place in some states as electors in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — the six battleground states that Biden won and Trump contested — gave Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris their votes Monday in low-key proceedings. Nevada’s electors met via Zoom because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Monday was the day set by law for the meeting of the Electoral College. Electors were casting paper ballots in gatherings that were taking place in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Masks, social distancing and other virus precautions were the order of the day. The results will be sent to Washington and tallied in a Jan. 6 joint session of Congress over which Vice President Mike Pence will preside.
When all the votes are in, Biden is expected to have 306 electoral votes to 232 for Trump. It takes 270 to be elected. In the popular vote count, Biden topped Trump by more than 7 million votes nationwide.
Legislative offices in Michigan were closed Monday over threats of violence. The 16 electors were to meet in the Senate chamber in a ceremony headed by Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Biden won the state by 154,000 votes, or 2.8 percentage points.
Amber McCann, spokeswoman for Republican Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, said the closures were made on recommendations from law enforcement “based on credible threats of violence.”
Georgia state police were out in force at the state Capitol in Atlanta before Democratic electors pledged to Biden met. There were no protesters to be seen less than a hour ahead of the meeting.
Former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whom Trump defeated four years ago, were among New York’s 29 electors for Biden and Harris.
Vermont’s electors were the first in the nation to vote Monday and they chose Biden and Harris.
Biden planned to address the nation Monday night, after the electors had voted. Trump continues to claim he won the election.
“No, I worry about the country having an illegitimate president, that’s what I worry about. A president that lost and lost badly,” Trump said in a Fox News interview that was taped Saturday.
Trump and Republican allies tried to persuade the Supreme Court last week to set aside 62 electoral votes for Biden in four states, which might have thrown the outcome into doubt.
The justices rejected the effort on Friday (Dec. 11).
In 32 states and the District of Columbia, laws require electors to vote for the popular-vote winner. The Supreme Court unanimously upheld this arrangement in July.
Electors almost always vote for the state winner anyway because they generally are devoted to their political parties. There was no reason to expect any defections this year.
Each state gets a number of electors equal to its total number of seats in Congress: two senators plus however many members the state has in the House of Representatives. Washington, D.C., has three votes, under a constitutional amendment that was ratified in 1961. With the exception of Maine and Nebraska, states award all their Electoral College votes to the winner of the popular vote in their state.
From The Associated Press. May not be republished. AP writers across the United States contributed to this report.