WASHINGTON (AP) – The Electoral College has firmly confirmed Joe Biden as the country’s next president, confirming his victory in November in an authoritative state-by-state rejection of President Donald Trump’s refusal to admit he had lost.
Presidential voters gave Biden a solid 306 electoral majority on Trump’s 232 on Monday, the same margin Trump boasted was a landslide when he won the White House four years ago.
In some states, there was heightened security as voters gathered to issue paper ballots, with masks, social aloofness, and other pandemic precautions the order of the day. The results will be sent to Washington and counted in a Jan. 6 joint congressional session chaired by Vice President Mike Pence.
For all unsupported Trump fraud claims, there was little tension and no change as all the electoral votes awarded to Biden and the president in last month’s popular vote officially went to each man. On election day, the Democrat topped the incumbent Republican over 7 million in the nationwide popular elections.
California’s 55 electoral votes put Biden over the top. Vermont, with 3 votes, was the first state to report. Hawaii was the last with 4 votes.
“Again in America the rule of law, our constitution and the will of the people prevail. Our democracy – pressured, tested, threatened – turned out to be resilient, true and strong, ”said Biden in an evening address highlighting the magnitude of his victory and the record number of 81 million people who voted for him.
He renewed his campaign promise to run for president for all Americans, whether they voted for him or not, saying the country is hard at work for the virus and the economy.
But there was no concession from the White House, where Trump continued to make unsupported fraud allegations.
Trump remained in the Oval Office long after the sun went down in Washington, calling on allies and fellow Republicans while keeping track of the ongoing Electoral College figure, according to White House and campaign aides. The president regularly popped into the Oval Office’s private dining room to watch TV, complaining that the cable networks treated it like a mini election night without giving his challenges airtime.
The president had become increasingly disappointed with the scale of “Stop the Steal” rallies across the country and with the GOP’s efforts to rally its own voters in states. A presidential desire for a fierce defense of the administration led to TV appearances on Monday by Stephen Miller, one of his most ferocious advocates, to downplay the importance of the election college vote and suggest that Trump’s legal challenges would continue until to the inauguration day. on January 20.
Late in the day, he took to Twitter to announce that Attorney General William Barr would be leaving the administration for Christmas. Barr’s departure comes amid ongoing tension over Trump’s unsupported fraud claims, especially after Barr’s statement to The Associated Press this month that the election results were unaffected by fraud.
In a Fox News Channel interview taped last weekend, Trump said, “I’m worried the country has an illegitimate president, I’m worried about that. A president who lost and lost badly. “
Monday in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – the six battlefield states Biden won and Trump fought – voters Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris gave their votes in hold-back proceedings. Nevada voters met through Zoom because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump’s attempts to undermine election results also raised voter security concerns, virtually unheard of in previous years. In Michigan, lawmakers from both parties reported receiving threats, and legislative offices were closed for threats of violence. Biden won the state by 154,000 votes or 2.8 percentage points over Trump.
Georgia State Police were present at the Atlanta State Capitol before the Democratic voters who pledged to Biden met. No protesters were seen.
Even with the Electoral College confirming Biden’s victory, some Republicans continued to refuse to acknowledge that reality. Still, their opposition to Biden had no practical effect on the election process, as the Democrat will be sworn in next month.
Republicans who would have been Trump voters met in a handful of states that Biden won anyway. Republicans in Pennsylvania said they are casting a “procedural vote” for Trump and Pence in courts that have repeatedly rejected the challenges of Biden’s victory, only to somehow determine that Trump won.
In North Carolina, Utah and other states across the country where Trump won, his voters were found to cast their votes. North Carolina voters had their temperature checked before they were allowed to enter the Capitol to vote. Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes retired as a Trump voter and was quarantined for being exposed to someone with COVID-19.
Former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who defeated Trump four years ago, were among New York’s 29 voters ahead of Biden and Harris.
In New Hampshire, before the four state voters voted for Biden at the State House in Concord, 13-year-old Brayden Harrington led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance. He had delivered a moving speech at the Democratic National Convention in August about the battle with stuttering that he shares with Biden.
After weeks of Republican legal challenges readily dismissed by judges, Trump and Republican allies last week attempted to convince the Supreme Court to set aside 62 electoral votes for Biden in four states, which could call the outcome into question.
The judges rejected the attempt on Friday.
The electoral college was the result of a compromise in the drafting of the constitution between those who preferred the election of the president by popular vote and those who opposed giving the people the power to directly elect their leader.
Each state gets a number of voters equal to the total number of seats in Congress: two senators plus the number of members the state has in the House of Representatives. Washington, DC, holds three votes, under a constitutional amendment 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.
The agreement of the nation’s founders has spawned five elections in which the president did not win the popular vote. Trump was the most recent example in 2016.
Associated Press writer Jonathan Lemire and AP writers in the United States contributed to this report.