PENNSYLVANIA — A decisive penultimate step in the ongoing saga that is the 2020 election took place on Monday, when the Electoral College voted for the next president of the United States. As expected, Pennsylvania’s 20 electors all cast their votes for President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
The vote comes following weeks of chaotic legal scrambling from Republicans attempting to reverse Biden’s victory over President Donald Trump. The latest high profile lawsuit, which involved Texas and 17 other states appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene, was dismissed on Friday.
During the ceremony Monday, Democratic officials noted the importance of Pennsylvania in the election.
“We are the state that put Joseph R. Biden and Kamala Harris over the threshold,” said Chairwoman of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, Nancy Mills. “We are the state that returned dignity and honor to the United States of America.”
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While there are still a few steps to go until the election process is formally completed on inauguration day in January, the meeting of the Electoral College marks an important benchmark in a year in which President Trump has not yet conceded and long-debunked accusations of voter fraud continue to circulate.
“This year, despite being in the middle of a global pandemic, more Pennsylvanians than ever before – 6.9 million – participated in the Nov. 3 election and had their voices heard,” Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar said during Monday’s ceremony. “As President George H.W. Bush eloquently said after the 1992 election, ‘The people have spoken, and we respect the majesty of our democratic system.’”
Biden defeated Trump by a tally of 3,459,923 to 3,378,263 in Pennsylvania, according to the Associated Press.
Who is involved
The Electoral College is comprised of 538 electors, each of whom is pledged to cast their vote in line with how their state voted.
Electors usually cast their vote in line with how their state voted, but in rare cases there are exceptions. So called “faithless electors” have occurred in the past, as only 32 states have passed laws preventing electors from changing their vote. However, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in July that states have the power to make committed votes binding.
Electors fit no single mold: they’re politicians both past and present, state legislators, party operatives, campaign directors, and more. They’re picked by the winning party.
The entirety of the Electoral College does not meet together. Rather, each state’s electors will meet in the state legislature to cast their votes for president.
What they do
In Pennsylvania, electors met at the state capitol in Harrisburg.
The state’s electors meeting lasted just over 70 minutes in 2016, and was attended, as usual, by leading officials in both parties from across the state. Gov. Wolf and numerous other dignitaries gave speeches. Electors then place ballots with their votes in boxes for both president and vice president.
Things were a bit different in 2020 due to coronavirus, however, with less fanfare and Gov. Wolf not in attendance due to his recent positive test for COVID-19.
Attendance at the event was limited to electors, Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar, and a few other ceremonial participants.
Participants were all masked and sat socially distant throughout the proceeding, delivering votes one by one.
Where to watch it
The meeting will take place at noon on Monday.
A live stream of the event will be available online from the Pennsylvania Department of State and also from C-SPAN.
It can also be viewed here:
Pennsylvania’s 2020 electors
Democrats from across the state were chosen as the 20 electors.
Democratic lawyer Clifford Levine
DNC Committeewoman and Chairwoman of Pennsylvania Democratic Party, Nancy Mills
2020 auditor general candidate Nina Ahmad
City Councilwoman Cindy Bass
Union leader Daisy Cruz
Former state representative candidate Charles Hadley
State Sen. Jordan Harris
State Sen. Malcolm Kenyatta
State Sen. Sharif Street
There remain two more major steps following the Monday vote.
On Jan. 6, a special joint session U.S. Congress, presided over by Vice President Mike Pence, will be held to formally count the votes. Any issues with the col
And finally, on Jan. 20, Biden will be formally inaugurated as the next president.
This article originally appeared on the Montgomeryville-Lansdale Patch