Senin, 14 Desember 2020

Electoral college voting to formally make Joe Biden the next US president -

Before we go any further, I should probably explain what the electoral college actually is.

As you may have noticed, the United States has a rather convoluted system. Technically, when Americans went to the polls on November 3, they were not voting directly for a presidential candidate. Their votes were actually used to choose a group of electors, whose job is to pick the president on their behalf.

This is why, on election night and beyond, you heard so much talk about “electoral votes”, rather than the popular vote.

In presidential elections, the winner of each state earns its haul of electoral votes – i.e. the state’s electors are pledged to vote for that candidate in the electoral college. And it takes 270 electoral votes to win.

After the election, the states take a few weeks to certify their results, and then the electoral college meets to make everything official. That is what’s happening today. Electors are gathering in the capitals of their respective states to cast their ballots.

It is usually a mere formality. But things are a little different this year, as President Donald Trump has refused to concede defeat. He has spent recent weeks pressuring several key states Mr Biden won to send delegates to the electoral college who will pick him instead, in defiance of their states’ voters.

That effort is unlikely to yield any results for Mr Trump today, but we just don’t know for sure until it’s over.

If everything follows the election results, Mr Biden should end up with 306 electoral votes, with Mr Trump trailing behind on 232.

Read on for our live coverage.

Live Updates

OK, while I was writing up that Wisconsin Supreme Court judgment, we got another large batch of electoral college results.

This group includes the swing states Arizona, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania. None of them delivered any surprises.

Arizona: 11 votes for Biden

New York: 29 votes for Biden

North Carolina: 15 votes for Trump

Ohio: 18 votes for Trump

Pennsylvania: 20 votes for Biden

Rhode Island: 4 votes for Biden

Sorry to rob this event of its drama, but we're now waiting for just two of the states Mr Trump has contested – Wisconsin and Michigan – and their results technically don't matter anymore.

With Arizona, Pennsylvania, Nevada and Georgia all giving their votes to Mr Biden, he already has enough swing states in his column to win.

He now leads the total count 146-97.

In a last-minute ruling just before Wisconsin's electors were due to meet, the state's Supreme Court has rejected an attempt from the Trump campaign to throw out more than 220,000 votes in heavily Democratic areas.

This particular court is controlled by a conservative majority. One of those conservative Justices, Brian Hagedorn, joined with three progressives to deliver Mr Trump a 4-3 defeat.

The primary reason for the decision was "laches", a legal principle which guards against an "unreasonable delay" in cases being brought.

In essence, if Mr Trump did not like the rules governing Wisconsin's election, he could have gone to court long before anyone voted under those rules.

Instead, he waited until it was clear he'd lost to Joe Biden, and until the legal relief he sought would retroactively disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of voters.

"The challenges raised by the campaign in this case come long after the last play or even the last game," Justice Hagedorn wrote in his majority opinion.

"The campaign is challenging the rulebook adopted before the season began. Election claims of this type must be brought expeditiously. The campaign waited until after the election to raise selective challenges that could have been raised long before the election."

He described the campaign's delay in launching its case as "unreasonable in the extreme".

"The campaign is not entitled to the relief it seeks," Justice Hagedorn wrote.

Lots of legal doctrines require potential claimants to raise legal objections in a timely fashion, it’s not just election law. These arguments have particular force in election law due to reliance interests of voters who voted in accord with what govt said was required.

— Jonathan H. Adler (@jadler1969) December 14, 2020

In a concurring opinion, two of the court's liberal Justices slammed the campaign's claims even more directly.

"The President failed to point to even one vote cast in this election by an ineligible voter, yet he asks this court to disenfranchise over 220,000 voters," they wrote.

This ruling is a little different to most we've seen in the post-election period, however, because it includes three clear dissents.

"The majority's failure to act leaves an indelible stain on our most recent election," one of those conservative dissenters wrote.

"It will also profoundly and perhaps irreparably impact all local, statewide and national elections going forward, with grave consequence to the state of Wisconsin and significant harm to the rule of law.

"Petitioners assert troubling allegations of noncompliance with Wisconsin's election laws by public officials on whom voters rely to ensure free and fair elections."

That's a passionate dissent, with arguments we haven't really heard from any other judges since the election, at state or federal level.

It's an interesting judgment all around. You can read the whole thing here, if you're into that sort of thing.

Ultimately, the upshot is that nothing will interfere with Wisconsin's electors voting for Mr Biden a short time from now.

We've had a flood of votes for Joe Biden in the last 20 minutes.

The most significant state in this batch is Georgia, where Mr Trump has focused much of his ire since the election.

The President has publicly lashed out at Georgia's Republican Governor Brian Kemp and Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger for certifying Mr Biden's win there and debunking his fraud claims.

Connecticut: 7 votes for Biden

Georgia: 16 votes for Biden

Maryland: 10 votes for Biden

Virginia: 13 votes for Biden

Anyway, Mr Biden now leads the count 82-56.

OK, as we get this blog rolling, a dozen states have already cast their ballots.

The full process is going to take another seven hours or so to complete, as the US crosses a bunch of time zones and each state is holding its meeting at a time of its choosing.

What we're watching for here is any sign of faithless electors – delegates who don't vote for the candidate who won their state.

That hasn't happened yet. As things stand, Donald Trump is leading Joe Biden 56-36.

Here are the states that have voted so far.

Arkansas: 6 votes for Trump

Delaware: 3 votes for Biden

Illinois: 20 votes for Biden

Indiana: 11 votes for Trump

Iowa: 6 votes for Trump

Mississippi: 6 votes for Trump

Nevada: 6 votes for Biden

New Hampshire: 4 votes for Biden

Oklahoma: 7 votes for Trump

South Carolina: 9 votes for Trump

Tennessee: 11 votes for Trump

Vermont: 3 votes for Biden

The only state of note here is Nevada, whose result Mr Trump has been trying to overturn with various allegations of voter fraud.

Those claims got him nowhere in court, and no further among Nevada's delegates, as they all supported Mr Biden.

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2020-12-14 17:09:15Z

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