Joe Biden clears 270-vote mark as electors affirm his victory

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Joe Biden Clears 270-Vote Mark As Electors Affirm His Victory
Joe Biden, © AP/Press Association Images
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By Mark Sherman, Associated Press

The US Electoral College has given Joe Biden a solid majority of its votes, confirming his victory in last month’s election in state-by-state voting that took on added importance this year because of Donald Trump’s refusal to concede he lost.

California’s 55 electoral votes put Mr Biden over the top, clearing the 270-vote mark that affirmed he will be the nation’s next president.

Hawaii’s final four votes pushed Mr Biden to a 306-vote majority.

Heightened security was in place in some states as electors met, casting paper ballots in gatherings that took place in the 50 states and the District of Columbia, with masks, social distancing and other virus precautions in place.

The results will be sent to Washington and tallied in a January 6 joint session of Congress presided over by vice president Mike Pence.

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There was little suspense and no change as all the electoral votes allocated to Mr Biden and Mr Trump in last month’s popular vote went to each man.

The Democrat topped the president by more than seven million in the popular vote nationwide.

In a speech from his longtime home of Wilmington, Delaware, Mr Biden aimed to guide Americans past the tumult of the campaign and Mr Trump’s refusal to accept defeat.

“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 the leaders of this nation. To govern ourselves.”

He renewed his campaign promise to be a president for all Americans, whether they voted for him or not, and said the country has hard work ahead on coronavirus and the economy.

But there was no concession from the White House, where Mr Trump has continued to make unsupported allegations of fraud.


Donald Trump (Patrick Semansky/AP)

He remained in the Oval Office long after the sun set in Washington, calling allies and fellow Republicans while keeping track of the running Electoral College tally, according to White House and campaign aides.

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The president frequently ducked into the private dining room off the Oval Office to watch on TV, complaining that the cable networks were treating it like a mini-election night while not giving his challenges any airtime.

The president had grown increasingly disappointed with the size of “Stop the Steal” rallies across the nation as well as efforts for the Republican party to field its own slates of electors in states.

A presidential wish for a fierce administration defence led to TV appearances early on Monday by Stephen Miller, one of his most ferocious advocates, to try to downplay the importance of the Electoral College vote and suggest that legal challenges would continue all the way to Inauguration Day on January 20.

In a Fox News interview taped over the weekend, Mr Trump said: “I worry about the country having an illegitimate president, that’s what I worry about. A president that lost and lost badly.”

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