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Politics

No Surprises as Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona Electors Vote for Biden

December 14, 2020

WASHINGTON— Electors are gathering in 50 states and the District of Columbia on Monday to formally vote for the next president. Most states have laws binding their electors to the winner of the popular vote in their state. Democrat Joe Biden won the Nov. 3 election with 306 Electoral College votes, while President Donald Trump finished with 232. It takes 270 Electoral College votes to win the presidency.

TALLY OF ELECTORAL COLLEGE VOTES, AS OF 12:47 P.M. EST

Democrat Joe Biden: 142

Republican Donald Trump: 79

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12:50 p.m.

Pennsylvania has cast its 20 electoral votes for Democrat Joe Biden, the native son whose win in the state last month cemented his overall victory against President Donald Trump.

The 20 electors were socially distanced in a cavernous auditorium near the Capitol, meeting there instead of the floor of the state House because of the pandemic.

One by one, each elector walked up to the auditorium stage and dropped his or her ballot into a box designed by Benjamin Franklin. The electors gave the vote tally a standing ovation.

Nancy Mills, president of the state’s Electoral College, noted it was Pennsylvania that put Biden over the 270-vote threshold needed to claim the White House.

She says, “We are the state that returned the dignity and honor to the United States of America.”

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12:45 p.m.

North Carolina has awarded its 15 electoral votes to President Donald Trump.

An energized base of supporters, vigorous in-person campaign schedule and appeal to rural voters fueled Trump’s 1.3 percentage point win over Democratic President-elect Joe Biden in the state.

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, Biden largely stayed off the physical campaign trail, instead choosing to do virtual events or smaller in-person gatherings with mask wearing and physical distancing. He did not personally visit the state in the last 16 days of the election.

Biden benefited from a surge in mail-in voting but fell short of a plurality of the more than 5.5 million ballots cast.

Trump defeated then-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in the state in 2016 by 3.7 percentage points. Former President Barack Obama is the most recent Democratic presidential candidate to win North Carolina, which he did in 2008.

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12:40 p.m.

Arizona’s 11 Electoral College members have cast their votes for Democrat Joe Biden for president.

Biden won the Nov. 3 in Arizona by nearly 10,500 votes, becoming the first Democratic since President Bill Clinton in 1996 to carry the traditionally Republican state.

Fueled by President Donald Trump, some Arizona Republicans continue to question Biden’s victory in the state. Trump backers have filed multiple lawsuits trying to have the Arizona results set aside, but state and federal courts have rejected all but one of them.

Some are being appealed, and the remaining case has a hearing Monday.

Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs presided over the ceremony where the electors signed the certificates confirming Biden’s win. She had harsh words for the politicization of this year’s process, saying it had “an artificial shadow” hanging over it because of baseless accusations of voter fraud.

12:35 p.m.

Georgia’s 16 Electoral College votes have been cast for Democrat Joe Biden for president.

The state’s Democratic electors convened in the Senate chamber of the state Capitol on Monday.

The electors included former candidate for governor Stacey Abrams, congresswoman-elect Nikema Williams, several state lawmakers, local politicians and Democratic activists.

The group limited themselves to sitting in every other row, with an empty desk between each person. They all wore a face mask to protect against the coronavirus, and the audience was limited to a few members of the press and some support staff.

The electors each marked a paper ballot that was then collected, counted and confirmed by a voice roll call. Abrams then read out the results, saying, “I’m pleased to announce that Joseph R. Biden has received 16 votes for president of the United States,” to applause.

The vote formally seals Biden’s win in the battleground state, where he beat President Donald Trump by about 12,000 votes. The result of the November election was confirmed by two recounts, including an audit that triggered a full hand tally of ballots.

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12:15 p.m.

A Republican lawmaker from Michigan has been disciplined for not denouncing potential violence at the state Capitol before Democratic presidential electors are to meet to vote for Joe Biden, who won the state over President Donald Trump.

State Rep. Gary Eisen of St. Clair Township told WPHM-AM on Monday that he planned to help with an unspecified “Hail Mary” GOP plan to challenge the election, conceding the “uncharted” action likely would not change the result. Asked if he could guarantee people’s safety, he said “no.”

House Speaker Lee Chatfield and Speaker-elect Jason Wentworth, both Republicans, removed Eisen from committees in the closing days of the two-year session. In a statement, they said threats or suggestions of violence in politics are never acceptable, including “when the public officials open the door to violent behavior and refuse to condemn it. We must do better.”

The 16 electors and top Democratic state officials such as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer are scheduled to gather in the Senate chamber Monday afternoon. Legislative offices are closed because of threats of violence. The Capitol is closed to the public because of coronavirus restrictions.

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11:55 a.m.

Nevada’s six Democratic presidential electors have awarded their votes for Joe Biden, becoming the first slate of electors from a battleground state to cast their votes.

The ceremony on Monday took place over Zoom due to the coronavirus pandemic. It took less than 20 minutes and finished without any surprises.

Biden defeated Trump by 33,596 votes, or 2.4 percentage points, in Nevada. Although Democrats’ margin of victory was similar to the 2016 election, the state’s slow vote-counting pace and a result that appeared tight on Election Night vaulted the western battleground into the national spotlight.

Trump eyed the state as a pick-up opportunity, visiting three times in the lead-up to the election. Biden visited once for an event with Latino groups and a drive-in rally.

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11 a.m.

Electors from the first states have cast their votes.

Vermont’s three representatives to the Electoral College on Monday cast the state’s presidential ballots for President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. In Tennessee, 11 representatives to the Electoral College cast their votes for President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

Four Electoral College votes from New Hampshire went to Biden, and 11 from Indiana went to Trump. Electors in other states also have begun voting.

Biden won the Nov. 3 election.

Electors are gathering in 50 states and the District of Columbia on Monday to formally vote for the next president. Most states have laws binding their electors to the winner of the popular vote in their state.

The results will be sent to Washington and tallied in a Jan. 6 joint session of Congress over which Pence will preside.

The electors’ votes have drawn more attention than usual this year because Trump has refused to concede the election and continues to make unsupported allegations of fraud. There was no widespread fraud. This has been confirmed by election officials across the country and by Attorney General William Barr.

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9:40 a.m.

Michigan legislative offices are closed because of threats of violence as presidential electors prepare to gather in the state Capitol to cast their votes for Democrat Joe Biden.

The 16 electors will meet Monday afternoon in the Senate chamber, at a ceremony chaired by Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Biden won the state by 154,000 votes, or 2.8 percentage points, over President Donald Trump.

The Capitol building is closed to the public due to coronavirus restrictions except when lawmakers meet for a legislative session. A spokesperson for Republican Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey says legislators’ offices in the statehouse and nearby buildings also are closed based on recommendations from law enforcement.

Spokeswoman Amber McCann says, “The decision was not made because of anticipated protests but was made based on credible threats of violence.”

Lawmakers from both parties have reported receiving threats amid Trump’s futile bid to overturn the election results with baseless allegations of widespread fraud.

There was no widespread fraud in the election. This has been confirmed by election officials across the country and by Attorney General William Barr.

Earlier this year, law enforcement said it uncovered a plot to kidnap Whitmer. The ringleader is alleged to have also discussed attacking the Michigan Capitol during session and executing “tyrants.”

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