Pennsylvania casts 20 electoral college votes for Biden

Written by on December 14, 2020

Pennsylvania casts 20 electoral college votes for Biden

By Katie Meyer /WITF

November 14, 2020

FILE – In this March 21, 2012 file photo, Vice President Joe Biden speaks at Mellon Auditorium in Washington. Biden on Sunday, May 6, 2012 said he’s “absolutely comfortable” with gay couples who marry getting the same civil rights and liberties as heterosexual couples, a stand that gay rights advocates interpreted as an endorsement of same-sex marriage. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

Pennsylvania’s 20 Electoral College members cast their votes Monday for president-elect Joe Biden.

Similar votes are happening around the country. Despite President Donald Trump’s many attempts to overturn the election results through the courts, the final electoral college vote will make official a result that has been clear since November: Biden won the electoral college, as well as the popular vote.

This year’s meeting of the Electoral College looked a little different from usual.

The electors congregated in an auditorium in Harrisburg, not far from the state Capitol.

They typically meet on the state House floor, but the Capitol is restricting public access due to the pandemic. Several lawmakers who attended in-person sessions at the Capitol in recent weeks tested positive for coronavirus.

After the Pennsylvania Department of State certified Biden’s victory in the state, the president-elect selected Pennsylvania’s electoral college representatives. They include elected officials from all levels of government, such as Attorney General Josh Shapiro and House Democratic Whip Jordan Harris, along with labor leaders and local Democratic organizers.

It is possible for electors to cast protest ballots against a winning presidential candidate, but it’s extremely rare. Four years ago, protesters descended on the Capitol and urged electors for President Trump to vote against him, but all 20 of the votes went to him and Vice President Mike Pence.

As expected, all voted this year for Biden.

Some Republicans in Harrisburg are still pushing for long-shot hopes of undermining Biden’s decisive victory, urging Congress to take its own action to circumvent the electoral college’s vote, and give the presidency to Trump.

Earlier this month, many House Republicans — including the chamber’s leaders — and a handful of state senators sent a letter urging Congress to “object, and vote to sustain such objection, to the Electoral College votes received from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”

They want federal lawmakers to employ a little-used election law, the 1887 Electoral Count Act, in one of the last steps of finalizing a presidential election: certification by congress, in a Jan. 6 special session.

Democrats have dismissed the effort as desperate.

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