Joe Biden has officially secured enough electoral votes to become the next president of the United States.
The elector votes will be officially tallied during a joint session of Congress on Jan. 6.
Just as he did in election projections, state certifications, recounts and numerous lawsuits, Donald Trump lost.
“If anyone didn’t know it before, they know now,” Biden said from Wilmington, Delaware, on Monday night. “What beats deep in the hearts of the American people is this: democracy, the right to be heard, to have your vote counted, to choose the leaders of this nation, to govern ourselves.”
Under normal circumstances, this step in the process would not be big news, as the clear loser would have already conceded. But Trump — who got nearly 7 million fewer votes than Biden, and has not raised a single credible voting irregularity — has refused to acknowledge his defeat, and has desperately tried to overturn the results.
Before and after Election Day, Trump cast doubt on the integrity of the U.S. voting system, repeatedly and baselessly calling mail-in ballots fraudulent. Trump’s campaign filed dozens of election lawsuits in multiple states, losing nearly all 60 of them.
It’s unclear whether the electoral votes will influence congressional Republicans, most of whom are following Trump’s lead in claiming that election results are still up in the air.
“This year, it seems as if Joe Biden has had to be declared the winner of the presidential election again and again and again ― and still, our Republican colleagues have not fully come to grips with that reality,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Monday on the Senate floor. “Just how many times does President Trump have to lose before rank-and-file Republicans, before most senators acknowledge that Joe Biden will be the next president of the United States?”
Some Republican senators cautiously acknowledged Biden as the next president after he passed the 270 mark.
“As soon as he crosses the 270 vote threshold ― I mean, there are still a couple of last steps in the process ― but in my view, that’s how in this country we decide presidential elections, that’s our Constitution, and I believe in following the Constitution,” Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) told reporters Monday.
When asked after the Electoral College vote if she acknowledged Biden as president-elect, Sen. Shelley Capito (R-W.Va.) told reporters: “It certainly looks that way, and I think it’s time to turn the page and begin a new administration.”
Sen. John Cornyn of Texas said he also considers Biden to be president-elect, barring “any other litigation that could occur between now and January 20.”
Although the country has known for weeks that Biden would likely become the 46th president, the Constitution requires the Electoral College to pick the president, not voters. The Electoral College is made up of 538 electors ― people picked in all 50 states by state parties. Some electors are political heavyweights like former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Georgia’s Stacey Abrams, while others are from other walks of life.
“I believe we should abolish the Electoral College and select our president by the winner of the popular vote, same as every other office,” Clinton, a New York elector, tweeted on Monday afternoon. “But while it still exists, I was proud to cast my vote in New York for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.”
Clinton, who won the popular vote but lost the presidential election in 2016, is one of many Democrats who have called to end the Electoral College because it is inherently undemocratic. For example, if around 80,000 votes in a few key states were different, Biden would be the Electoral College loser despite his 7 million-vote win.
Though Trump still hasn’t conceded, Biden celebrated the electoral win as a win for democracy during his speech Monday night.
“In America, politicians don’t take power. People grant power to them,” he said. “The flame of democracy was lit in this nation a long time ago. And we now know that nothing — not even a pandemic or an abuse of power — can extinguish that flame.”
Igor Bobic contributed reporting.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article misstated the date of the general election.