It’s a constitutionally-mandated ritual that’s typical no more than a curious afterthought following a presidential election, but the Electoral College vote has taken on newfound significance this year as Trump and his GOP allies make unprecedented efforts to subvert the popular will of the voters and overturn Biden’s November victory.
Trump has continued to spread false claims of widespread fraud despite courts in all of the battleground states rejecting his campaign’s challenges to the election. The Supreme Court dealt the final blow against his efforts to overturn the election result late Friday, dismissing a case brought by the Texas attorney general that sought to disenfranchise millions of voters in four states.
While Trump has directed most of his Twitter ire at the courts and the GOP state officials who have properly certified their states’ election results for Biden, he turned his attention to the Electoral College vote on Sunday evening with even more false claims. In a Fox News interview over the weekend, Trump claimed “it’s not over” and vowed to keep fighting to stay in office.
Monday’s Electoral College vote is not the final step in the constitutional process of selecting a president. The votes cast on Monday are sent to Congress, where they will be counted on January 6 in a joint session led by Vice President Mike Pence.
Lawmakers can dispute a state’s election result. But a challenge can only be considered if both a House member and senator sign onto it. So far only House Republicans have said they will contest the results, although some GOP senators have suggested they are considering joining.
Even if a senator signs on to challenge the results, it’s only delaying the inevitable. In that case, the House and Senate separately debate the matter for two hours and vote on it. Democrats control the House, and enough GOP senators have already said they reject Trump’s claims of fraud that a challenge would not succeed there either.
After the state electors cast their ballots on Monday, those results will be certified and sent to Congress, the National Archives and to the courts.
The states’ electors are meeting throughout the day, as each state sets its own rules for how electors meet and vote. At least one state — Nevada — is meeting virtually due to the pandemic.
The Electoral College votes will conclude later Monday evening, when California’s electors meet at 5 p.m. ET and Hawaii’s at 7 p.m. ET.