California confirmed its presidential election Friday and nominated 55 voters, pledging to vote for Democrat Joe Biden and formally handing him the Electoral College majority needed to win the White House.
Secretary of State Alex Padilla’s official approval of Biden’s victory in the state has brought his pledge of voters to 279, according to the Associated Press. It is beyond the 270 limit for success.
These stages in elections often ignore formalities. As President Donald Trump continues to deny Biden success and pursues increasingly legal tactics aimed at manipulating the results before the results are finalized, the hidden mechanics of electing the US president have led to a new scrutiny this year.
Although it has been clear for weeks that Biden will win the presidential election, gaining more than 270 voters is the first step toward the White House, said Edward B. Foley, a law professor at Ohio State University.
“This is a legal milestone and the first milestone with that status,” Foley said. “Everything before this we call projections.”
Voters named on Friday will meet with colleagues in each state on Dec. 14 to officially vote for the next president. Most states have laws that bind their voters to those who win the most popular vote in their state, actions justified by this year’s Supreme Court ruling. There are no indications that any of Biden’s pledged voters will consider voting for him.
The Electoral College vote results must be received and approved by Congress on January 6th. Although lawmakers were opposed to accepting voters’ votes, it was almost impossible to prevent Biden at the time.
Both the Democratic-controlled House and the Republican-controlled Senate vote separately to resolve disputes. One has already emerged from Pennsylvania, where 75 Republican lawmakers signed a statement Friday asking Congress to prevent them from voting in state elections on Biden’s behalf. But state Republican U.S. Senator Pat Tommy soon said he would not oppose Pennsylvania’s voters, stressing the difficulties in trying to change the election results through Congress.
“As a matter of practice, we know Joe Biden will be launched on January 20th,” Foley said.
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In the days following the election, the counting of mail ballots gradually made it clear that Biden had won enough states to win the Electoral College. This became even more evident in late November, when every swing state that Biden won confirmed its winner in the election and nominated its voters to the Electoral College. Trump tried to stop those states from certifying Biden as the winner and appointing voters to the former vice president.
Deep down in Democratic California, he did not attempt the most populous state in the country and the highest number of electoral votes. The other three states where Biden won – Colorado, Hawaii and New Jersey – have not yet confirmed their results. When they do, Biden will have 306 Electoral College votes to Trump’s 232.
Trump and his allies have brought at least 50 legal cases, including in the swing states where Biden won – especially Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. More than 30 were rejected or fired, according to an AP calculation.
Trump and his allies also raise the notion that Republican state legislatures in those states may appoint rival voters who have pledged allegiance to Trump.
But state Republican leaders have rejected that policy, and it will be in vain in any case. According to federal law, both chambers of Congress must vote to accept contesting voters. If they do not, voters appointed by the governors of the states – all those who have pledged allegiance to Biden in these cases – should be used.
The last step left to block the election is a quixotic attempt to get voters in Congress to vote.
Tried this strategy – in 2000, 2004 and 2016 some congressional Democrats officially called George W. Bush. Bush and Trump have objected to the presidency. But the numbers were not enough to prevent two people from taking office.