Home / World News / Biden Tops 270 Electoral College Votes, Affirming His Presidential Win

Biden Tops 270 Electoral College Votes, Affirming His Presidential Win

President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. said that no election officials should ever face the kind of pressure they received from President Trump to falsely proclaim the election to be fraudulent.
President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. said that no election officials should ever face the kind of pressure they received from President Trump to falsely proclaim the election to be fraudulent.Credit…Hilary Swift for The New York Times

President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. declared that it was “time to turn the page” on the 2020 election in a speech Monday evening, just hours after the Electoral College formally cast its votes for him to replace President Trump on January 20.

“We the People voted,” Mr. Biden said in brief remarks from Wilmington, Del. “Faith in our institutions held. The integrity of our elections remains intact. And so, now it is time to turn the page, as we’ve done throughout our history. To unite. To heal.”

Just over a month before he will be inaugurated as the 46th president, Mr. Biden hailed the record-breaking turnout in the presidential campaign, calling it “one of the most amazing demonstrations of civic duty we’ve ever seen in our country” and saying that it “should be celebrated not attacked.”

Mr. Trump has sought for weeks to reverse the outcome of the election with baseless and unproven accusations of voter fraud in the swing states that delivered the victory to Mr. Biden. The president has refused to concede while he and his allies have undermined faith in the country’s democratic system of governance.

Even on Monday, as the electors gathered in states around the country to cast their votes, Mr. Trump tweeted about a “Rigged Election!” and “massive fraud,” allegations that were quickly labeled as “disputed” by Twitter.

Mr. Biden denounced the attacks on voting by the president and his allies, calling them “unconscionable” and saying that no election officials should ever face the kind of pressure they received from Mr. Trump in recent weeks to falsely proclaim the election to be fraudulent.

“It was honest, it was free. And it was fair,” he said. “They saw it with their own eyes. And they wouldn’t be bullied into saying anything different.”

Anticipating potential complaints from Republicans, the president-elect noted that Mr. Trump and his legal team were “denied no course of action” as they challenged the legitimacy of the election before Republican-appointed judges, with Republican legislatures, and in desperate conversations with Republican officials at the state and local levels.

None wavered in their determination that the election was fairly conducted, Mr. Biden said.

In his speech, he expressed confidence that the defining feature of American democracy — its electoral process — would survive Mr. Trump’s assault.

“If anyone didn’t know it before, we know it now. What beats deep in the hearts of the American people is this: Democracy,” Mr. Biden said. “The right to be heard. To have your vote counted. To choose leaders of this nation. To govern ourselves. In America, politicians don’t take power — people grant power to them.”

As he has for weeks, Mr. Biden kept his focus on the raging coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 300,000 people in the United States. Though first responders, doctors and others have begun receiving the first doses of a vaccine, Mr. Biden warned that the months ahead will be difficult.

“There is urgent work in front of us,” he plans to say. “Getting this pandemic under control and getting the nation vaccinated against this virus. Delivering immediate economic help so badly needed by so many Americans who are hurting today — and then building our economy back better than it ever was.”

He also called for unity on a day in which electors in many states performed their duties under threat of violence. He urged people in both parties to work together, giving each other a “chance to lower the temperature” in American politics.

“We need to stand in solidarity, as fellow Americans, to see each other, our pain, our struggles, our hopes and our dreams,” he said. “We’re a great nation. We’re good people.”

“The flame of democracy was lit in this nation, a long time ago,” Mr. Biden added. “And we now know nothing, not even a pandemic or an abuse of power, can extinguish that flame.”

Members of Wisconsin's Electoral College cast their votes at the state Capitol in Madison. The Electoral College affirmed Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s presidential victory on Monday.
Members of Wisconsin’s Electoral College cast their votes at the state Capitol in Madison. The Electoral College affirmed Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s presidential victory on Monday.Credit…Pool photo by Morry Gash

Joseph R. Biden Jr. was affirmed as the president-elect on Monday as members of the Electoral College pushed him past the 270 threshold to win the White House, all but ending a disruptive chapter in American history in which President Trump sought to use legal challenges and political pressure to overturn the results of a free and fair election.

The president-elect passed the threshold after California cast its 55 votes for Mr. Biden on Monday afternoon, capping a day marked by heightened security in battleground states and an unusual level of scrutiny for what is normally a formal, procedural affair.

With supporters of Mr. Trump promising to mount protests outside of some statehouses, officials took extra steps to ensure the safety of the electors. Lawmakers in Michigan, citing credible threats, closed the Capitol building to the public, as did those in Wisconsin, where electors in Madison were ushered into a side entrance at the State Capitol for the noon vote.

Yet Monday’s votes were largely smooth, and protests did not disrupt the proceedings. Indeed, in many battleground states, police presence outnumbered protesters, and the normally staid process carried out by the Electoral College went uninterrupted.

“It’s not just out of tradition but to show folks, especially now more than ever, our system works,” said Gov. Chris Sununu, the Republican governor of New Hampshire, before the electors in his state all cast their votes for Mr. Biden on Monday morning.

The vote on Monday officially sends Mr. Biden to the White House, assuming the presidency after a trying election marked by deep divisions and a devastating pandemic that crippled the country and disrupted voting.

Mr. Biden has been working aggressively to fill out his cabinet to prepare for when he takes office in January, aiming to have a team ready to combat the coronavirus and begin the long recovery.

The vote followed six weeks of unprecedented efforts by Mr. Trump to intervene in the electoral process and change the outcome of an election he lost by about seven million votes. He was joined by many Republicans who supported his unfounded claims of voter fraud, including 126 party members and 17 state attorneys general who supported a case before the Supreme Court that legal experts said had no merit. The court rejected the case on Friday.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell all but ignored the Electoral College proceedings on Monday.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell all but ignored the Electoral College proceedings on Monday.Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

Support for President Trump’s attempt to overturn his election loss began to collapse in the Senate on Monday after the Electoral College certified President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory, with many of the chamber’s top Republicans saying the time had come to recognize results that have been evident for weeks.

While they insisted that Mr. Trump could still challenge the results in court should he wish, the senators said the certification should be considered the effective conclusion of an election that has fiercely divided the country. And after weeks of silence as Mr. Trump and others in their party sought to overturn the results in increasingly extreme ways, they urged their colleagues to move on.

“I understand there are people who feel strongly about the outcome of this election, but in the end, at some point, you have to face the music,” Senator John Thune of South Dakota, Republicans’ No. 2, told reporters in the Capitol. “And I think once the Electoral College settles the issue today, it’s time for everybody to move on.”

Even Senator Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Republican who initially fanned Mr. Trump’s claims of fraud in key battleground states, said he now saw only “a very, very narrow path for the president” and had spoken with Mr. Biden and some of his likely cabinet nominees.

“I don’t see how it gets there from here, given what the Supreme Court did,” he added, referring to the justices’ decision on Friday to reject a long-shot suit by Texas seeking to overturn the results in a handful of states Mr. Biden won.

The comments amounted to a notable and swift sea change in a body that for weeks has essentially refused to acknowledge the inevitable, although the shift was far from unanimous.

Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, stayed conspicuously silent on Monday, declining to acknowledge Mr. Biden’s victory. He dedicated his only public remarks to stimulus negotiations and ignored a question about the Electoral College proceeding shouted by a reporter in the Capitol.

It was unclear on Monday if those who relented were a harbinger of a larger shift by elected Republicans to accept Mr. Trump’s defeat, or a sign of a growing rift within the party between those willing to accept reality and those — a loyal core in the Senate and the vast majority in the House — who appear ready to follow him wherever he leads.

Mr. McConnell’s allies said that he would honor the election outcome come January, but did not want to pick a fight with Mr. Trump now, for fear of damaging Republicans’ chances in a pair of January Senate runoff elections in Georgia that will decide control of the chamber.

He is also concerned, they said, that doing so could jeopardize a string of year-end legislative priorities that will require the president’s signature, including a catchall spending measure and the stimulus package to address the continuing toll of the pandemic.

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Electoral College Declares Biden President-Elect

The Electoral College officially designated Joseph R. Biden Jr. as the president-elect and Kamala Harris vice-president elect.

“Electors, please hold up only your ballot for the Office of the President of the United States. Madam Secretary, we have six votes for Joseph R. Biden for president and six votes for Kamala D. Harris for vice president.” “It is my pleasure to announce to you and to the members of the College that the tellers agree in their count: The electors of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania have cast 20 votes for the Honorable Joseph R. Biden for president of the United States and 20 votes for the Honorable Kamala D. Harris for vice president of the United States.” “OK, as chairperson of the Electoral College and governor of the great state of Wisconsin, it is my distinct honor to announce that Wisconsin casts its 10 electoral votes for president of the United States of America to Joseph R. Biden Jr. and for vice president of the United States of America, 10 electoral votes also for Kamala D. Harris. We made it.” We stand not for ourselves and not for our party, but for the people of Georgia. It is on their behalf that we took up this charge to be electors, it is on their behalf that we are ensuring that the nation is led by a good man who believes in the soul of our nation, and in all of its people. It is on their behalf, that we come together today to cast our votes for Joseph R. Biden and Kamala Devi Harris. I am pleased to announce that Joseph R. Biden has received 16 votes for president of the United States. The people of Arizona selected Joseph Biden and Kamala Harris, and the electors will cast their votes accordingly by signing these certificates of vote today. This was truly a historic election. During the worst public health crisis we have seen in our lifetimes, Michiganders everywhere made a plan to ensure that their voices were heard in November. Today, Michigan’s 16 electors will vote to finalize Michigan’s election results. And I want to thank each and every one of you for traveling here today to perform your patriotic duty on our behalf. I would now like to announce the tally of the vote for the office of president of the United States. For Joseph R. Biden of Delaware, a Democrat, ayes 55, nos zero. I will now announce the tally for the votes for the office of vice president of the United States. For Senator Kamala D. Harris of California, a Democrat, ayes 55, nos zero.

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The Electoral College officially designated Joseph R. Biden Jr. as the president-elect and Kamala Harris vice-president elect.CreditCredit…Nicole Craine for The New York Times

Long a routine part of American democracy, the work of the 538 men and women in the Electoral College this year has been thrust into the spotlight amid President Trump’s extraordinary efforts to overturn the results of the election.

As electors gathered to cast their votes on Monday, some aspects of the day reflected the unsteadiness of the time — the coronavirus pandemic and, in some areas, security concerns from expected demonstrations. But the day went smoothly as the gears of democracy continued to turn.

Before the official votes, Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland, a Republican who was an early critic of Mr. Trump’s efforts to sow doubt about the election results, called the event a “civics lesson” in “how our democracy works.”

From Connecticut — where the state troubadour, Nekita Waller, performed “Lift Every Voice,” and electors put their ballots in a box said to be made of wood from the Connecticut Charter Oak — to Nevada, where electors held up their votes for the camera in a Zoom call, the political system functioned as it long has.

In Georgia, the corridors of the State Capitol were empty and quiet as electors gathered in the State Senate chamber to cast 16 electoral votes in favor of Mr. Biden. Barricades were placed around the capitol grounds, but there were no crowds leaning up against them.

Georgia’s was a victory that Mr. Trump had fought fiercely to overturn — through recounting ballots, legal maneuvering and an unrelenting stream of allegations of fraud and attack on the Republican state officials who oversaw the elections process. But those efforts failed.

“Now, the nation knows that Georgia is a blue state,” said Nikema Williams, the chairwoman of the state Democratic Party who was elected in November to the congressional seat that had belonged to John Lewis, who died in July.

“As we stand here today about to make history,” she added as she opened the meeting, “we know this result was not luck. It was thanks to the hard work of organizers, volunteers and voters across Georgia.”

In frigid Wisconsin, where municipal workers cleaned up snow in 20-degree temperatures, the state’s highly contested 10 electoral votes went to Mr. Biden.

Residents and politicians alike sounded frustrated at the ongoing attempts to overturn their state’s vote.

“I think it’s kind of futile,” said Madison city worker Patrick McGuigan, 54, of continued protests and efforts to overturn the election. “I think the Electoral College will do what it’s intended to do, which is to declare Joe Biden as our next president.”

In the neighboring state of Michigan, a few dozen people showed up at the State Capitol, carrying signs calling on the electors and Republican Party to “Stop the Steal.” But there was also a large police presence on site to escort electors into the Capitol and keep protesters out.

But the protest couldn’t be heard inside the ornate Senate chambers, where the Democratic electors did their jobs in an eerily silent chamber, with its grand chandeliers, historical portraits and gold columns ringing the room.

As one of the state’s 16 electors, Robin Smith called her mother Monday morning to talk about her historic role casting a vote for Mr. Biden.

“As a Black female, it really means everything to me,” said Ms. Smith, 57, a librarian in the Lansing school district. “My mom reminded me that when I came into this room today, that I brought my mother, my grandmother and my great-grandmother in with me because Black females have played such a huge part when it comes to the Democratic Party.”

Michael Kerwin, 96, made the official nomination of Mr. Biden in Michigan. He’s been a member of the state’s Democratic Party since 1950 and it was the first time that he’s had the chance to be a part of the electoral college.

“This was the symbol of the importance of getting rid of this president,” said Mr. Kerwin, a Detroit resident and retired international vice president of the United Auto Workers. “This is a good way to end my 70-year career in politics.”

Lisa Hamm came out to support the electors at the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing.Credit…Brittany Greeson for The New York Times

Rhode Island’s governor, Gina M. Raimondo, Skyped into the meeting while in quarantine — but did it from her car in the parking lot of the State House. And before Alabama’s nine electors cast their votes, one man showed up at the meeting dressed as Uncle Sam.

Louisiana’s eight electors, in a sign of dissent, passed a resolution commending Mr. Trump for his service as president.

And in Kentucky, the state’s electors swore they have never been involved in a duel with a deadly weapon at swearing-in ceremonies, adhering to a clause put into the state Constitution in 1850 to “dissuade” officials from solving their differences with gun duels.

People waiting in line to vote in Atlanta on Monday.
People waiting in line to vote in Atlanta on Monday.Credit…Lynsey Weatherspoon for The New York Times

For weeks, the runoff races for Georgia’s two Senate seats have virtually been impossible for residents to escape, as campaign coverage has dominated the local news and advertisements praising or attacking the candidates have filled every commercial break.

In and around Atlanta, signs on roads and lawns and messages on face masks have urgently pleaded residents to vote one more time.

On Monday, thousands did, as in-person early voting started for the runoff contests that carry considerable stakes for both parties. With Republican control of the Senate hanging in the balance, the races have drawn considerable interest and hundreds of millions of dollars — much of it from outside the state.

President Trump campaigned in Georgia this month for the Republican candidates, and President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. is scheduled to arrive in Atlanta on Tuesday.

“I feel like all eyes are on Georgia right now,” Joanne Williams, 27, said after she cast her ballot in Atlanta. “It can go in any direction.”

In November, both of the state’s Republican senators, David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, were forced into runoffs, scheduled on Jan. 5, against Democratic challengers.

Mr. Perdue faces Jon Ossoff, the chief executive of a media production company; Ms. Loeffler is being challenged by the Rev. Raphael G. Warnock, the senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, a prominent pulpit in Atlanta that had once belonged to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Democrats have been buoyed by the victory of Mr. Biden, the first presidential candidate from the party to win Georgia since 1992. Yet, as Democrats contend that the election signaled the state’s transformation from a reliably Republican stronghold, the runoffs present a major test.

The voting on Monday began amid the turbulence that has trailed the presidential election, as Mr. Trump has focused on Georgia while spreading baseless claims of election fraud. Every effort to overturn his loss in the state failed, and on Monday afternoon, the state’s electoral votes were officially awarded to Mr. Biden.

Still, Mr. Trump continued his attacks against Georgia’s governor, Brian Kemp, a Republican. “What a fool,” the president said in a post on Twitter early Monday. He repeated his argument that Mr. Kemp should have called a special session of the State Legislature as part of Mr. Trump’s effort to win the state.

And in a nod to just how much the presidential election and Mr. Trump looms over the runoff, he argued that the situation could make for a “bad day for two GREAT Senators on January 5th.”

Roughly 1.2 million mail-in ballots have so far been requested, state officials said. Many others opted to vote in person.

Raymond Floyd, 37, said he felt the charged energy and excitement of the moment as he waited in a line outside the High Museum of Art in Midtown Atlanta, a few miles from the state capitol building. Mr. Floyd, who planned to vote for Mr. Ossoff and Mr. Warnock, said, “I like democracy at work.”

But he added, “Once this election is over, I’m ready for a sense of normalcy and a sense of respect.”

Jannat Batra contributed reporting.

After months of impasse, lawmakers are now staring down a Friday deadline to complete a must-pass government funding bill.
After months of impasse, lawmakers are now staring down a Friday deadline to complete a must-pass government funding bill.Credit…Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times

A bipartisan group of centrist members of Congress on Monday presented a pair of compromise measures totaling $908 billion that were intended to break the stalemate in negotiations on another round of stimulus to address the economic fallout from the virus.

One of the bills would provide $748 billion to fund an array of programs that have generated consensus in the stimulus talks, including the revival of federal unemployment payments and a popular small business loan program, as well as funding for vaccine distribution, food aid, schools and other institutions struggling to stay afloat because of the pandemic. A second measure includes the two biggest sticking points to a deal: $160 billion to bolster state and local governments, and a temporary coronavirus liability shield for businesses, nonprofits, schools and hospitals.

The group’s bifurcated plan amounted to an effort, with only days left for Congress to agree on a pandemic aid plan before the holidays, to generate an agreement that all sides could embrace, but it faced hurdles as some Democrats signaled they found it insufficient, and it was not clear whether Republicans would embrace it.

Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, had previously proposed jettisoning the two sticking points and instead approving a narrow stimulus measure. Democrats have been resistant to a liability shield, which they say could harm worker protections, and Republicans have been staunchly opposed to what many of them have derided as a “blue-state bailout” for state and local governments.

It was unclear whether the moderates’ bipartisan compromise, first outlined shortly after Thanksgiving, will be part of any final deal. Members of the group — including Senators Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, Mark Warner, Democrat of Virginia and Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia — have huddled for days to hammer out the details.

Senator Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent, has warned Democratic leaders that he would oppose any agreement that did not include direct payments to Americans of $1,200 per adult and $500 per child, a provision that was not expected to be included in either of the bipartisan plans.

“If the United States government wants the American people to have faith in their government in this time of emergency, it has got to respond,” Mr. Sanders said in a phone interview. “My immediate demand is two things: You’ve got have strong unemployment benefits, and we’ve got to have the $1,200, plus $500. That’s what has to be in any proposal that is passed.”

The release of the two bills comes as Congress stares down a Friday deadline to complete a must-pass government funding bill, which lawmakers and aides are close to finishing. An agreement on the spending legislation could emerge as soon as later Monday.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California was expected to speak with Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, as they worked to reach a deal on both government funding and a stimulus plan.

In a letter announcing his decision, Representative Paul Mitchell warned that by continuing to align themselves with President Trump, top Republicans would do “long-term harm to our democracy.”
In a letter announcing his decision, Representative Paul Mitchell warned that by continuing to align themselves with President Trump, top Republicans would do “long-term harm to our democracy.”Credit…Susan Walsh/Associated Press

Representative Paul Mitchell of Michigan, a two-term Republican who voted for President Trump this year, announced on Monday that he would immediately sever his ties with the Republican Party over its refusal to accept the president’s election defeat.

In a letter to top G.O.P. officials, Mr. Mitchell warned that elected Republicans could help Mr. Trump do “long-term harm to our democracy” by continuing to accommodate and amplify baseless claims of widespread voter fraud. He said he would become a political independent, though he already planned to retire from Congress at the end of this year.

“It is unacceptable for political candidates to treat our election system as though we are a third-world nation and incite distrust of something so basic as the sanctity of our vote,” he wrote just after his state cast its 16 electoral votes for Mr. Biden on Monday. He also decried Republican attacks on the Supreme Court, which on Friday rejected an audacious lawsuit from Texas seeking to overturn the results in key battlegrounds, including Michigan.

One of the wealthiest members of Congress, Mr. Mitchell was first elected in 2016. He has served as a member of Republican leadership, and by his own account voted in favor of the Trump administration’s policies 95 percent of the time.

But he has emerged in the weeks since Election Day as one of Mr. Trump’s biggest critics, especially as the president’s lawyers and his allies have made Michigan a leading focus of their attempts to overturn the will of the voters.

Though other Republicans, like Senator Mitt Romney of Utah, have chastised the president and his enablers, Mr. Mitchell is the first elected member of Congress to leave the party over the issue since the election. His fellow Michigan Republican, Representative Justin Amash, left the party last year over concerns about Mr. Trump.

In his letter on Monday, Mr. Mitchell said he supported the right of any candidate to request recounts or challenge results in court. But Mr. Trump and his legal team, he said, had “failed to provide evidence of fraud or administrative failure on a scale large enough to impact the outcome of the election.”

“If Republican leaders collectively sit back and tolerate unfounded conspiracy theories and ‘stop the steal’ rallies without speaking out for our electoral process, which the Department of Homeland Security said was ‘the most secure in American history,’ our nation will be damaged,” Mr. Mitchell wrote, addressing his remarks to Ronna McDaniel, the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, and Representative Kevin McCarthy, the House Republican leader.

He acknowledged his own decision may be symbolic, but said it was necessary to adhere to his oath to protect and defend the Constitution. And, he added, “we all know that symbols matter.”

President Trump said on Monday that Attorney General William P. Barr would depart next week, ending a tenure marked by Mr. Barr’s willingness to advance the president’s political agenda and criticism that he eroded the post-Watergate independence of the Justice Department.

Mr. Barr had in recent weeks fallen out of favor with the president after acknowledging that the department had found no widespread voter fraud, but Mr. Trump sought to play down their differences, saying in a tweet announcing Mr. Barr’s departure, “Our relationship has been a very good one, he has done an outstanding job!”

Still, his resignation allows Mr. Barr to avoid any confrontation with the president over his refusal to advance Mr. Trump’s efforts to rewrite the election results.

Mr. Barr praised Mr. Trump in a resignation letter for overcoming what the attorney general said was an unprecedented effort by his political opponents to take down the president.

“No tactic, no matter how abusive and deceitful, was out of bounds,” Mr. Barr said. “The nadir of this campaign was the effort to cripple, if not oust, your administration with frenzied and baseless accusations of collusion with Russia.”

Jeffrey A. Rosen, the No. 2 at the Justice Department, will take over as acting attorney general when Mr. Barr leaves on Dec. 23, and Richard Donoghue, an official in Mr. Rosen’s office, will become the deputy attorney general.

Mr. Barr, 70, who also served as attorney general in the George H. W. Bush administration, was viewed initially in Washington as a stabilizing force in the chaotic Trump era, but that expectation dissipated as he took aim at the Justice Department’s own investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia that had long antagonized the president.

Stephen Miller, an adviser to President Trump, said that Republicans in several states would enter “alternate” electoral college votes. But they do not have the legal authority to do so.
Stephen Miller, an adviser to President Trump, said that Republicans in several states would enter “alternate” electoral college votes. But they do not have the legal authority to do so.Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

Try as they might, the Republicans in Georgia and Michigan who organized uncertified shadow electors to cast votes for President Trump will not be succeeding in their attempt to change their states’ Electoral College votes.

The failed efforts appear to be the latest in a string of attempts by Mr. Trump and some of his allies to overturn election results in at least five battleground states won by Joseph R. Biden Jr.

Stephen Miller, a senior adviser in the White House, appeared on Fox News on Monday morning, before the Electoral College had begun the official process of voting, to promote the so-called “alternate” electors.

“We have more than enough time to right the wrong of this fraudulent election result and certify Donald Trump as president,” Mr. Miller said. “As we speak, an alternate slate of electors in the contested states is going to vote and we are going to send those results up to Congress. This will ensure that all of our legal remedies remain open.”

In Georgia, as 16 electors from the Democratic Party were meeting in the chamber of the State Senate and assigning their electoral votes to Mr. Biden, 16 Republican alternate electors gathered in a room at the State Capitol and cast their votes in favor of Mr. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

Mr. Biden is the first Democratic presidential candidate to win Georgia in 28 years; he won the state by more than 11,000 votes.

“I didn’t even know they were downstairs,” said Representative-elect Nikema Williams, the state Democratic Party chairwoman and an incoming congresswoman. “I was too busy casting an official Electoral College vote.”

In Michigan, video posted to Twitter showed Republican state representatives attempting to enter Michigan’s capitol building and cast their votes for Mr. Trump. State police denied them entrance.

“They don’t have legal authority and so this does not affect the counting of Electoral College votes,” said Richard L. Hasen, a professor of law at the University of California, Irvine, referring to Mr. Miller’s claims that so-called alternate electors can send their votes to Congress.

Electors are typically appointed by the state political party whose candidate won the popular vote in that state and must be certified by state election officials. Any votes cast by alternate electors will not be sent to Congress, where on Jan. 6 envelopes containing certificates showing the electoral results from all 50 states will be carried into the House chamber and formally tabulated.

Mr. Miller said that the alternate votes were organized in the case that lawsuits filed by the president in several states succeeded in overturning Mr. Biden’s victories in those states. But the president’s legal efforts to contest election results in Georgia and across the country have overwhelmingly failed.

Rick Rojas contributed reporting.

Protesters outside the State Capitol in Lansing, Mich., on Monday as the Electoral College prepared to cast its votes.
Protesters outside the State Capitol in Lansing, Mich., on Monday as the Electoral College prepared to cast its votes.Credit…Brittany Greeson for The New York Times

The two most senior leaders in the Michigan legislature, both Republicans, on Monday affirmed the state’s electoral votes that would formalize Joseph R. Biden’s victory, as a fellow lawmaker was punished for suggesting there may be violence at the meeting of electors.

In blistering terms, House Speaker Lee Chatfield wrote that he “can’t fathom risking our norms, traditions and institutions to pass a resolution retroactively changing the electors for Trump, simply because some think there may have been enough widespread fraud to give him the win,” describing such a move as “unprecedented for good reason.”

“That’s why there is not enough support in the House to cast a new slate of electors,” he added. “I fear we’d lose our country forever. This truly would bring mutually assured destruction for every future election in regards to the Electoral College. And I can’t stand for that. I won’t.”

Last month, Mr. Chatfield and Mike Shirkey, the state Senate majority leader, were both summoned by President Trump to the White House in a bid to get lawmakers to substitute their own slate of electors. The two men, both rumored to be interested in higher office, went through with the visit but rebuffed Mr. Trump’s request.

Mr. Biden won Michigan by about 150,000 votes, a much greater margin than in the other most hotly contested battlegrounds. The electors upheld those results on Monday afternoon.

“Michigan’s Democratic slate of electors should be able to proceed with their duty, free from threats of violence and intimidation,” Mr. Shirkey said. “President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris won Michigan’s presidential election. It our responsibility as leaders to follow the law and move forward in pursuit of policies that contribute to the betterment of Michigan.”

Also on Monday, Mr. Chatfield and Speaker-elect Jason Wentworth stripped a state representative of his committee assignments after he suggested that efforts to block the state’s Electoral College vote could turn violent.

“Can you assure me that this is going to be a safe day in Lansing, nobody’s going to get hurt?” a local radio host asked the representative, Gary Eisen, a Trump supporter, hours after legislative leaders shuttered legislative offices over threats that groups were intending to violently disrupt the process.

“No,” responded Mr. Eisen, according to audio of the interview. “I don’t know because what we’re doing today is uncharted. It hasn’t been done.”

Mr. Eisen said that the Constitution gave legislators the right to stop the electors if the state’s results were not “up and up.” He complained that the security measures, put in place by leaders in his own party because of bomb threats, prevented pro-Trump legislators from entering the Capitol to protest the proceedings.

He said that he still planned to participate in an “event” organized by Republicans, but, when pressed, he declined to elaborate on what it would entail other than to say it would be “all over the news later on.”

When his interviewer, Paul Miller of WPHM in Port Huron, interrupted to call those plans “dangerous,” Mr. Eisen replied, “It is dangerous.”

Republican leaders in the state House of Representatives responded quickly after his comments were circulated widely on social media, citing the federal indictment of 13 far-right extremists for plots that included kidnapping Michigan’s Democratic governor, Gretchen Whitmer, and storming the State Capitol to protest coronavirus restrictions.

“We have been consistent in our position on issues of violence and intimidation in politics — it is never appropriate and never acceptable,” wrote Mr. Chatfield and Mr. Wentworth.

“We as elected officials must be clear that violence has no place in our democratic process. We must be held to a higher standard,” they added. “Because of that, Representative Eisen has been removed from his committee assignments for the rest of the term.”

Mr. Eisen did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

He currently serves as vice chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and serves as a member of the agriculture, local government and environmental committees.

Ms. Whitmer said the threat of violence was discouraging.

“I think that every person, whether they are a man or a woman, Republican or anyone Democrat, Yooper or downstater,” she said, using nicknames for people who live in the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of Michigan, “should be able to stand up and say we respect our institutions, even if we don’t like the result.”

A member of Iowa’s Electoral College signing the certificate of vote on Monday at the statehouse in Des Moines.
A member of Iowa’s Electoral College signing the certificate of vote on Monday at the statehouse in Des Moines.Credit…Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

The members of the Electoral College gathered in their respective states on Monday to cast their official ballots for president. Here’s more on the next steps in the process:

How did the Electoral College voting work, and what happens after?

The electors cast their ballots for president and vice president via paper ballot. Thirty-three states and the District of Columbia legally require their electors to choose whoever won the state’s popular vote, so there should be no surprises there. The other 17 states don’t “bind” their electors, meaning they can vote for whomever they choose. But the likelihood of “faithless electors” switching sides and handing the election to President Trump was essentially zero.

After the votes are counted, the electors sign certificates showing the results. These are paired with certificates from the governor’s office showing the state’s vote totals. The certificates are sent to Vice President Mike Pence, in his capacity as president of the Senate; the Office of the Federal Register; the secretary of state of the respective state; and the chief judge of the Federal District Court where the electors meet.

Then what?

Congress officially counts the votes in a joint session held in the House chamber on Jan. 6, with Mr. Pence presiding. When Mr. Biden reaches a majority with 270 votes, Mr. Pence announces the result.

The session cannot be ended until the count is complete and the result publicly declared. At this point, the election is officially decided. The only remaining task is the inauguration on Jan. 20.

Can members of Congress block the results?

There is no debate permitted during the counting of the electoral votes. But after the result is read, members of Congress get one opportunity to lodge their concerns.

Any objection to a state’s results must be made in writing and be signed by at least one senator and one member of the House. The two chambers would then separate to debate the objection. Each member of Congress can speak only once — for five minutes — and after two hours the debate is cut off. Each body then votes on whether to reject the state’s results.

What’s the likelihood of Congress changing the outcome?

Stopping Mr. Biden from assuming office remains a long-shot strategy for Republicans.

For an objection to stand, it must pass both houses of Congress by a simple majority. If the vote followed party lines, Republicans could not block Mr. Biden’s victory.

Dr. Yves Duroseau received the vaccine at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park, N.Y., on Monday.
Dr. Yves Duroseau received the vaccine at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park, N.Y., on Monday.Credit…Brendan Mcdermid/Reuters

There has never been a Monday quite like this one — an unmistakable, if unpredictable, coinciding pivot for the presidency and a pandemic that has killed nearly 300,000 Americans.

State by state, the typically unobserved clockworks of American democracy began to click into place as electors ratified the victory of the 46th president of the United States, Joseph R. Biden Jr., despite attempts by the 45th president to subvert the results by strong-arming local Republicans to overturn the will of voters.

Around 10 a.m. Eastern, electors in Indiana, New Hampshire, Tennessee and Vermont had gathered for the formal process of affirming Mr. Biden’s clear national victory. There was no doubt about the outcome — despite President Trump’s efforts to encourage the belief that there was — and the president-elect was expected to pass the necessary threshold by early evening.

In a sign of a new abnormal ushered in by Mr. Trump’s behavior, electors in some states have had to deliberate in tight security, sometimes in out-of-the-way locations, after they have been threatened for simply doing their constitutional duty.

At the same time, other machinery — more industrial than ceremonial — was set into motion as the first batches of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine, which left a plant in Michigan Sunday evening to the cheering of onlookers, began arriving in virus-ravaged cities around the country.

Federal officials said 145 sites were set to receive the vaccine on Monday, 425 on Tuesday and 66 on Wednesday. A majority of the first injections are expected to be given to high-risk health care workers on Monday, although the relatively small amount of vaccine delivered will fall short of offering protection to all those who are eligible to get it.

But it could signal the beginning of the end.

On Monday, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, who will continue on as a central federal architect of the virus response under Mr. Biden, said he believed most Americans who wanted the vaccine could probably get it by later March or early April.

In an interview with MSNBC, Dr. Fauci said that plans to vaccinate Mr. Biden were “under discussion” amid reports that White House officials had planned to vaccinate top-level Trump administration officials.

Mr. Trump, whose efforts to downplay the severity of the pandemic were a focus of the election, began the day, as he often does lately, posting a tweet laden with falsehoods about the “Rigged Election.” The message was flagged by Twitter.

Yet, the president, who remains eager to take credit for the unprecedented scientific effort to rush the development of the vaccine, could not deny himself a victory lap on the day his political defeat was to become formal.

“First Vaccine Administered. Congratulations USA! Congratulations WORLD!” he wrote.

Election observers, right, watching election officials during the recount of ballots in Milwaukee last month.
Election observers, right, watching election officials during the recount of ballots in Milwaukee last month.Credit…Tannen Maury/EPA, via Shutterstock

The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Monday denied President Trump’s attempt to invalidate more than 200,000 votes in the state’s two biggest Democratic bastions for the second time this month.

The ruling ends the president’s efforts to overturn the result of the election just hours before the Electoral College is set to cast the state’s 10 votes for President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.

In a 4-3 decision, the conservative-leaning court rejected the Trump campaign’s attempt to throw out votes in Milwaukee County and Dane County, which includes Madison.

The campaign had asked courts to throw out votes cast by voters who declared themselves indefinitely confined, voters who delivered absentee ballots at October events hosted by the Madison city clerk, voters who cast ballots at in-person early-voting sites and absentee ballots in which the voter’s witness did not provide a complete mailing address.

“We conclude the Campaign is not entitled to the relief it seeks,” wrote Justice Brian Hagedorn, a conservative who sided with the court’s three liberal justices. He added that “the challenge to the indefinitely confined voter ballots is meritless on its face, and the other three categories of ballots challenged fail under the doctrine of laches” — meaning that the campaign took too long to file the suit.

The State Supreme Court had already rejected on Dec. 3 an attempt by the Trump campaign to file the suit directly with it. So the Trump campaign refiled the suit in lower courts in Milwaukee and Madison, then when those courts ruled against it, appealed to the Supreme Court, which heard the case.

Monday’s ruling snuffs out the faint legal hope Mr. Trump had of flipping Wisconsin from Mr. Biden, who won the state by 20,000 votes out of 3.2 million cast.

In their dissent, three of the court’s conservative justices argued the Trump campaign found “troubling allegations of noncompliance with Wisconsin’s election laws” by municipal clerks and the state elections commission.

“The majority’s failure to act leaves an indelible stain on our most recent election,” Justice Rebecca Bradley wrote, in a dissent signed by two conservative justices. “It will also profoundly and perhaps irreparably impact all local, statewide, and national elections going forward, with grave consequence to the State of Wisconsin and significant harm to the rule of law.”

She added: “The majority’s failure to discharge its duty perpetuates violations of the law by those entrusted to administer it.”

The Trump lawsuit did not allege any fraud in Wisconsin’s election. Instead it argued that municipal clerks in Milwaukee County and Dane County should not have been allowed to complete address forms for witnesses to absentee ballots, which the Wisconsin Elections Commission had given them permission to do. State law requires absentee voters to have witnesses sign their ballot envelopes.

The suit did not seek to invalidate ballots cast anywhere else in the state — where voters are far more likely to have supported Mr. Trump.

The lawsuit also asked the court to invalidate ballots that were collected by the Madison municipal clerk at October gatherings in city parks, though those events were also blessed by the elections commission.

It also sought to throw out ballots cast by voters who declared themselves indefinitely confined to their homes during the coronavirus pandemic.

And, in its boldest argument, the Trump campaign argued that all in-person absentee ballots were cast in violation of state law — an assertion that would have thrown out its own lawyer’s vote.

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