Live updates: In speech Monday night, after electoral votes secure his win over Trump, Biden to say ‘democracy prevailed’

Members of the electoral college are convening in state capitals throughout the country Monday to formally vote for Joe Biden as the nation’s next president, even as President Trump continues to falsely claim that he won the election.

Following the gatherings, which will continue throughout the day, Biden plans to address the nation and say, “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,” according to excerpts of his speech.

Trump has planned no public events but continues to tweet grievances about the election, which he claimed Sunday is “under protest.”

Here’s what to know:

4:04 PM: Biden to proclaim: ‘In this battle for the soul of America, democracy prevailed’

In a prime-time address Monday night, Biden is planning to deliver another victory speech, speaking to the nation after the electoral college has reaffirmed his presidential victory even as Trump continues to falsely claim the results are in doubt.

Biden’s remarks are intended to unify, with direct appeals to Trump supporters, while also proclaiming that American democracy has worked despite repeated attempts to subvert it.

“If anyone didn’t know it before, we know it now,” Biden plans to say, according to early excerpts of the speech. “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.”

In remarks that appear clearly aimed at Trump, the president-elect also implicitly rejects Trump’s attempts to challenge the results of the election.

“In America, politicians don’t take power — the people grant it to them,” Biden plans to say. “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.”

Even as Trump has refused to concede and pledged to continue fighting the election results despite few avenues left to him Biden plans to call for the country to move on.

“In this battle for the soul of America, democracy prevailed,” he plans to say. “We the People voted. Faith in our institutions held. The integrity of our elections remains intact. And so, now it is time to turn the page. To unite. To heal.”

Biden has spent the past several weeks forming his Cabinet and preparing to take the oath of office on Jan. 20. Just as he did in his election victory speech more than five weeks ago, the incoming president plans to speak to Trump’s large number of supporters, many of whom view Biden as an illegitimate president-elect.

“I will work just as hard for those of you who didn’t vote for me as I will for those who did,” Biden plans to say, before turning toward the coronavirus and to plan to vaccinate millions of Americans.

“There is urgent work in front of all of us,” his remarks continue. “Getting the pandemic under control to getting the nation vaccinated against this virus: delivering immediate economic help so badly needed by so many Americans who are hurting today and then building our economy back better than ever.”

By: Matt Viser

2:59 PM: Michigan casts its 16 electoral votes for Biden

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan’s presidential electors cast their 16 votes for Biden on Monday afternoon, formalizing the Democrat’s 154,000-vote victory in the state.

Michigan’s electors cast their votes at 2:50 p.m. Eastern time in a largely empty Capitol building. State officials said they had closed the building because of concerns about the coronavirus and other, unspecified “credible threats.”

Amid heavy security, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) told those at the ceremonial gathering that “this was truly a historic election during the worst public health crisis we have seen.” She praised Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D) and other state officials and election workers for “securing a fair and accurate election.”

A group of Republican electors challenging the vote was turned away from the gathering by state police. Wearing a black mask, Whitmer told the chamber that “now is the time for us to put this election behind us” and to work together “to defeat our common enemy: covid-19.” She added, “It’s time to move forward as one United States of America.”

The ceremonial event opened with the national anthem, followed by “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” often referred to as the “Black national anthem.” A diverse group of Michigan religious leaders then led the gathering in prayer.

Earlier Monday, a GOP state representative suggested that he and other Republican legislators might try to enter the building to try to stop the vote. Rep. Gary Eisen said he did not rule out the possibility of violence during that attempt.

But statehouse GOP leaders quickly rebuked Eisen, removing him from his committee assignments and rejecting the idea that the legislature could undo Biden’s win.

“Michigan’s Democratic slate of electors should be able to proceed with their duty, free from threats of violence and intimidation,” said Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R). “President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect [Kamala D.] Harris won Michigan’s presidential election.”

In the end, there was no violence outside the statehouse and only a smattering of protesters.

Biden won Michigan by more votes than any of the other swing states that sealed his victory. But despite that margin, Michigan still became the scene of several post-election dramas as Trump and his allies, pushing baseless claims of election fraud, leaned on the bipartisan boards of canvassers that Michigan uses to certify its votes.

In Wayne County, home of Detroit, two Republican members of the board of canvassers initially refused to certify the county’s votes — then relented after hearing hours of public outrage. At the state board of canvassers, one Republican abstained from voting, but the vote was still certified after the other GOP member voted yes.

The electors who formally cast Michigan’s votes for Biden included a history teacher, several retirees, leaders in the autoworkers and teachers unions, and Democratic activists. They were selected at the state’s Democratic Party convention this summer.

By: Omar Sofradzija, David A. Fahrenthold and Tom Hamburger

2:57 PM: Law enforcement braced for protests, but some swing-state capitols are quiet as electors gather

© Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images A driver waves a Biden-Harris flag as supporters of President Trump walk up the steps of the Pennsylvania Capitol on Monday in Harrisburg.

As electors gathered Monday to finalize their votes in the presidential contest, the capitol grounds in the hardest-fought battleground states remained largely quiet and free of physical protests of the vote.

Law enforcement had braced for an influx of protesters at state capitols in swing states where state elected officials have been bombarded with harassment and threats of physical harm. A few dozen protesters gathered at the Michigan Capitol in Lansing two hours ahead of the scheduled vote but were outnumbered by journalists and law enforcement officers who had appeared there in anticipation of the protesters.

Eventually, protesters slowly trickled in to express grievances ranging from the election outcome to the legality of mask mandates to the validity of coronavirus data. Sixteen electors were slated to finalize the state’s presidential vote for Biden.

For Barry Wayne Adams, 65, of Marshall, Mich., his concerns were all of the above. He cited “an effort by the system at large to try to impose the new normal on us.”

As for the election outcome, Adams isn’t sure what to believe. “We’re still in limbo as to what really happened, but we’re intentionally kept in a state of uncertainty as to what went on,” he said, adding, “We’re just watching it play out.”

The Pennsylvania Capitol complex in Harrisburg was quiet and snowy as 20 electors prepared to gather to cast ballots for Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala D. Harris. On the Capitol steps, where Trump supporters have held several election protests, a single Christmas tree stood instead.

Troy Thompson, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of General Services, said that while no credible security threats had been received, Capitol Police were working with state and federal police to ensure the electors’ safety.

“We’ve always maintained a high level of security regardless of the circumstances, and this year is no different,” Thompson said.

In Nevada, the first state to meet Monday, there was no sign of protesters or even many passersby at the closed Legislative Building grounds in Carson City as the state’s six electors gathered virtually to cast their votes. Five electors joined the video call from private locations in Las Vegas, and one joined from near Reno. Nevada electors are legally bound to vote for President-elect Joe Biden; the state is one of 32 states with a faithful-elector law.

Jennifer Russell, press officer for the Nevada secretary of state’s office, said she did not anticipate any electors going rogue, but the office did have six alternate electors standing by in case an issue arose. Biden won Nevada by 33,596 votes, winning only the state’s two most-populous counties, home to Las Vegas and Reno.

Sofradzija reported from Lansing, Worden from Harrisburg, Masterson from Carson City and Lee from Washington.

By: Omar Sofradzija, Amy Worden, Kathleen Masterson and Michelle Ye Hee Lee

2:31 PM: D.C. casts its three electoral votes — all by women — for Biden

Every four years, each state and the District of Columbia selects a group of people who will be responsible for officially casting electoral votes for president and vice president. And in the District, those positions have typically been reserved for Democratic politicians, council members or other public figures.

On Monday, the three electoral votes for the nation’s capital will be cast by residents whose names are less recognizable but whose work is appreciated more than ever — a nurse, a Safeway grocery store worker and an advocate for D.C. statehood. In a year marking the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote, all three of the District’s electors will also be women.

The trio cast their votes for Biden on Monday afternoon.

Read the full story

By: Samantha Schmidt

2:31 PM: Early in-person voting begins in Georgia for two Senate runoffs

Long lines of voters form Dec. 14 on a drizzly and chilly morning at Ponce De Leone Library in Atlanta on the first day of early voting for the Jan. 5 U.S. Senate runoff. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

Early in-person voting for the pair of U.S. Senate runoff elections in Georgia got underway Monday.

The high-stakes Jan. 5 contests will determine which party controls the Senate. Sen. David Perdue’s (R-Ga.) six-year term will end two days before his runoff against Democrat Jon Ossoff. Appointed Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) is facing off against Democrat Raphael Warnock.

If Democrats win both Georgia races, it will be a 50-50 split in the Senate. Vice President-elect Kamala D. Harris, once sworn in, would become president of the Senate and give Democrats a tie-breaking vote.

In Cobb County, election officials adjusted their plans after drawing ire from voting rights advocates for shuttering more than half of their early-voting sites ahead of the runoffs.

In a statement, Seth Bringman, spokesman for Fair Fight Action, started by former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams to advocate for voting rights, urged people to “vote early in person or to return their mail ballots as soon as possible and to support Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock.”

“We are hopeful that the Secretary of State has learned his lesson from early voting in the general election, in which he failed to provide the necessary eNet bandwidth to accommodate voters, a problem he did not fix until the third day,” Bringman said.

Bringman also called on Cobb County to add weekend early-voting hours and added the group hopes the secretary of state will call on two counties — Hall and Forsyth — to reverse a decision to shutter some early voting locations in areas with a high concentration of voters of color.

There have been 1.22 million mail ballots requested ahead of the election, with 260,000 people already returning their ballots.

By: Paulina Firozi, Lenny Bronner and Vanessa Williams

1:31 PM: Former president Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton among New York’s 29 electors

Clintons cast ballots in New York’s electoral college vote
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Former president Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton, former secretary of state and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, were among the 29 electors casting ballots at the state capital in New York, as members of the electoral college gathered at statehouses across the country to formally vote for president and vice president.

The chamber broke out in applause after it was announced that the 29 electors had cast their ballots for Biden for president and Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) for vice president.

New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) was also among the state’s electors and presided over New York’s electoral college vote.

Hillary Clinton tweeted after the vote that she believes “we should abolish the Electoral College and select our president by the winner of the popular vote.”

She won the popular vote against Donald Trump in 2016, though Trump got more electoral votes.

“But while it still exists, I was proud to cast my vote in New York for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris,” she added.

By: Paulina Firozi

1:26 PM: ‘We made it,’ says Wisconsin’s Democratic governor after 10 electors cast their votes for Biden

Led by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, Wisconsin’s 10 electors cast their votes for former vice president Joe Biden, sealing the Democrat’s narrow victory in a state that helped give Trump the White House four years ago.

Other Wisconsin electors included Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes and Ben Wikler, the chairman of the state Democratic Party. The group met in an ornate wood-paneled room at the state capitol in Madison.

After announcing the tally, Evers added, his voice filled with relief, “We made it.”

Like in other swing states, Monday’s vote came only after weeks of challenges and false allegations raised by President Trump and his supporters. Biden defeated Trump by more than 20,000 votes in the Badger State. The margin was close enough that Trump was allowed to request a recount — which he did only in the state’s two most Democratic-leaning counties, Milwaukee and Dane. As a result of the recount, Biden’s lead grew by 87 votes.

Trump then challenged the recount results in court. Never did his campaign argue that any voter committed fraud or engaged in other wrongdoing. Instead, they alleged that in administering the election, state and local officials had misapplied state law. For instance, they said that a form used by people to vote in person and labeled an “application/certification” did not comply with a state law requirement that anyone who votes before Election Day must fill out an “application.” Though the form has been used across much of the state for more than a decade, they challenged votes cast with it only in the two most Democratic counties.

In all, they sought to get judges to throw out 220,000 votes. But a state judge ruled last week that election officials broke no rules in the election and Biden’s win was valid, a decision that was affirmed by the state Supreme Court about an hour before the electors met. Likewise, a federal judge also found the election had been properly conducted and ruled that none of Trump’s constitutional rights were violated.

By: Rosalind S. Helderman

1:06 PM: Georgia casts its 16 electoral votes for Biden

Georgia’s 16 Democratic electors on Monday unanimously cast their votes for Biden during a meeting at the State Capitol, a momentous occasion that followed two statewide presidential recounts and marked the first time since 1992 that the state has chosen a Democrat for president.

The electors, socially distanced and masked, cheered and applauded after the vote was complete.

“This has been a moment long time coming,” said Stacey Abrams, a former gubernatorial candidate, who presided over the meeting. Abrams’s organizing efforts are credited with helping deliver Biden’s narrow win.

Monday’s vote sealed Biden’s 11,779-vote victory after weeks of drama that unfolded in the state after Election Day, with multiple lawsuits filed by Trump and his allies, two recounts that reaffirmed Biden’s win, and efforts by Trump to pressure the state’s Republican governor and secretary of state to overturn the results.

As the state’s official Democratic electors cast their ballots for Biden and Harris, a group of state Republicans made a last-ditch effort to express support for Trump by casting their own, unofficial ballots. Some members of Georgia’s Republican Party met in a different part of the State Capitol, saying they were unwilling to concede the election, and claimed without substantiation that the “contest of the election is ongoing.”

Georgia certified its election results for the second time last week after a second recount of the roughly 5 million ballots cast in the presidential race, which included the largest hand-recounted audit of ballots in U.S. history.

Haisten Willis contributed to this report.

By: Michelle Ye Hee Lee

1:06 PM: Pennsylvania, one of hardest-fought battlegrounds, casts 20 electoral votes for Biden

Pennsylvania’s 20 presidential electors voted for Biden, cementing his victory over Trump in one of the election’s hardest-fought battlegrounds.

The result was announced at a ceremony in Harrisburg by Rich Fitzgerald, the county executive of Allegheny County and a teller for Monday’s event. Under state law, the college’s votes were dictated by Biden’s defeat of Trump in the popular vote, 3,458,229 votes to 3,377,674 — a winning margin of 80,555. But their choice also amounted to a rebuke of Trump and his Republican allies in the state, who spent more than a month fighting in the courts to sabotage the electoral process.

Because of the pandemic, the electors met in an auditorium near the Pennsylvania Capitol deemed better for social distancing than the state House chamber, the usual venue. In her opening remarks, Secretary of the Commonwealth Kathy Boockvar noted that the group was gathered 231 years after the nation’s first electoral college convened in the state.

Members of the college cast their votes in a ballot box designed by Benjamin Franklin. Boockvar did not mention Trump’s failed attempt to overturn the result, in which he and fellow Republicans repeatedly sued Boockvar and other election officials in federal and state courts. But she chose to quote remarks made by the last one-term Republican president, George H.W. Bush, during his prompt concession of the 1992 election to Bill Clinton: “The people have spoken, and we respect the majesty of the democratic system.”

By: Jon Swaine

12:57 PM: Stacey Abrams among Georgia’s 16 electors

© John Bazemore/AP In this Nov. 1, 2020, photo, former Georgia state House Democratic leader Stacey Abrams speaks during a rally for Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) in Duluth, Ga.

Voting rights activist Stacey Abrams was among the 16 electors that met at the state Capitol in Georgia as members of the electoral college gather across the country to cast ballots for president and vice president Monday.

Abrams presided over the state’s electoral college vote. The chamber broke out in applause after she announced that Biden received 16 votes for president of the United States.

Abrams, a former candidate for Georgia governor, tweeted in November that she is “proud to join 15 fellow Georgia Democrats in casting my vote for ⁦@JoeBiden, winner of Georgia’s 16 electoral votes and President-Elect of the United States.”

In Florida, one of the state’s 29 electors, state Senate President Wilton Simpson (R), informed the governor that he will not attend Monday’s meeting of electors at the state capital after testing positive for the coronavirus.

“It was a great honor to be selected to serve our state in this historic capacity, and I was very much looking forward to casting my vote for President Trump and Vice President Pence,” Simpson wrote in a letter to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R). “The Senate is honored to host the meeting of Florida’s Presidential Electors in our chamber, and my staff remains available to assist as needed.”

By: Paulina Firozi and Vanessa Williams

12:39 PM: Arizona casts its 11 electoral votes for Biden

Arizona’s 11 Democratic electors cast their votes for Biden on Monday during a meeting run by Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, whose ardent defense of the election results has made her a target of violent threats.

Hobbs (D) decried the “artificial shadow” cast by baseless allegations of fraud in Arizona, another of the states Trump has contested.

“While there will be those who are upset their candidate didn’t win, it is patently un-American and unacceptable that today’s events should be anything less than an honored tradition held in pride and in celebration,” Hobbs said.

The electors’ vote sealed Biden’s win by 10,457 votes in Arizona, flipping a red state to blue.

Trump won Arizona by more than 91,000 votes when he faced Hillary Clinton in 2016. Trump and his allies have claimed that the 2020 election was rife with fraud, but no evidence has emerged in the weeks since Nov. 3 to support that allegation.

Multiple post-election lawsuits — alleging problems ranging from machines that couldn’t read Sharpie markers to rogue nations manipulating votes — found no purchase with the Republican state attorney general or with state and federal judges.

Kelli Ward, chairwoman of the Arizona Republican Party, formally challenged the election results shortly after those results were certified Nov. 30. She argued that Maricopa County officials engaged in “misconduct” by failing to offer observers adequate access and that there were widespread errors in ballot processing that resulted in Biden wrongly being declared the winner.

A Maricopa County judge dismissed all of those claims, finding no evidence to support them, and the Arizona Supreme Court upheld that finding. Ward, continuing to claim that the election was dramatically flawed, has now asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case.

The post-election period has laid bare a rift in the Arizona GOP between Ward’s ardently pro-Trump wing — which has echoed his baseless claims of fraud and in a pair of tweets even asked followers whether they were willing to martyr themselves fighting for Trump — and an establishment conservative wing helmed by Gov. Doug Ducey.

Ducey endorsed the security of Arizona’s election and signed certificates of ascertainment for Democratic electors, making Biden’s win official — moves that enraged Trump.

A minority of state legislators signed on to a letter calling for the election to be decertified, but Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers, a Republican, refused to entertain any such violation of the law.

By: Emma Brown

12:06 PM: As electoral college meets, Wisconsin Supreme Court rules against Trump in another defeat

The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Monday rejected an effort by Trump to toss out 220,000 votes in the state, dealing a final death knell to his complaints about the state’s vote as its electors prepare to cast their 10 votes for Biden later Monday.

Biden defeated Trump by more than 20,000 votes in the Badger State. The margin was close enough that Trump was allowed to request a recount — which he did only in the state’s two most Democratic-leaning counties, Milwaukee and Dane. As a result of the recount, Biden’s lead grew by 87 votes.

Trump tried to get the Wisconsin Supreme Court, a panel made up of elected justices with a conservative majority, to hear a challenge to the recount following its conclusion. That court required Trump to first bring his complaints to a lower level circuit court, where a judge rejected his complaints last week.

By a 4-to-3 vote, the state Supreme Court sided against Trump. Trump’s complaints were also rejected by a federal judge on Saturday. While he is appealing the federal ruling, the electoral college will nevertheless meet Monday to formalize Biden’s win in the state.

By: Rosalind S. Helderman

12:04 PM: Nevada electors cast six votes for Biden, Harris

Nevada’s six Democratic electors cast their votes Monday for Biden during a virtual meeting run by Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, a Republican who has defended the integrity of the 2020 election even as her party has attacked it.

Nevada was the first of the states contested by Trump to cast its electoral votes, as several others cast votes following the will of the state’s electorate.

Biden won Nevada by more than 33,000 votes. The electors’ vote Monday sealed that win after unsuccessful legal challenges by Trump and his allies, first to slow the count of votes in Democratic-leaning Clark County and then to reverse the results of the presidential election altogether.

In news conferences and on social media, the Nevada Republican Party claimed that the state’s decision to send mail ballots to all active registered voters had resulted in massive fraud. Thousands of dead and out-of-state voters had cast ballots, they claimed.

One anonymous woman went on Fox News, with her face in shadow, to say she had seen two people in a Biden van who were filling out multiple blank ballots and then putting them in envelopes.

Elsewhere, Trump supporters have complained that judges dismissed their complaints on procedural grounds without considering alleged evidence of electoral fraud.

But that was not the case in Nevada. In two separate cases, Carson City judges allowed Republicans to present evidence. First, after a nine-hour evidentiary hearing, Judge James E. Wilson Jr. decided just before Election Day that Republicans had not shown that Clark County officials were breaking the law by using a machine to verify some signatures on mail ballots.

Then, when Republicans lodged a formal election contest following the certification of Nevada’s results, Judge James T. Russell allowed them to take up to 15 depositions and present their evidence in a Dec. 3 hearing. Russell issued a detailed 35-page decision in which he went through each of the Republicans’ many claims of fraud and dismissed them, finding no basis for annulling more than 1.3 million votes cast in Nevada’s presidential race.

Even considering evidence that Russell said was hearsay and not admissible in court, he found that Republicans did not prove their allegations “under any standard of proof.” (He found the anonymous woman’s claim of ballot-stuffing in broad daylight — corroborated by no one else — to be “not credible.”)

Last week, the Nevada Supreme Court unanimously upheld Russell’s ruling.

By: Emma Brown

12:01 PM: Proud Boys chairman says he didn’t meet with Trump during White House tour

Enrique Tarrio, leader of the Proud Boys, stands outside Harry’s Bar during a protest Saturday in Washington, D.C. (Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

Enrique Tarrio, chairman of the Proud Boys, said he did not meet with President Trump or executive branch staffers during a tour of the White House on Saturday.

Tarrio is the head of the far-right organization with a reputation for street violence that was involved in protests in Washington over the weekend. On Saturday, he posted an image of himself on the White House steps on the social networking site Parler.

He captioned the image: “Last minute invite to an undisclosed location.”

In September, Trump drew criticism for telling the group to “stand back and stand by” during a presidential debate with then-candidate Joe Biden, sparking concerns that the president was egging on an ideological group with a penchant for brawling in the streets.

Tarrio told The Post he was in D.C. for protests related to Trump’s claims of election fraud, but he is also chief of staff for a group called Latinos for Trump, which organized the White House visit.

“As much as that story would be cool, we didn’t meet,” Tarrio said Monday. “It’s a small house. It was a quick tour.”

During weekend protests, four people were stabbed during a fight in Northwest Washington where hundreds of Proud Boys had gathered, some wearing helmets and body armor.

By: Cleve R. Wootson Jr.

11:41 AM: Michigan GOP leaders discipline Republican state legislator for suggesting there might be violence during electors’ vote

The Republican leaders of Michigan’s state House said they had removed GOP state Rep. Gary Eisen from his committee assignments, after Eisen suggested in a radio interview that there might be violence Monday as state electors cast their votes for Biden.

“We as elected officials must be clear that violence has no place in our democratic process,” said House Speaker Lee Chatfield and Rep. Jason Wentworth, who will replace Chatfield as speaker next year. “We must be held to a higher standard.”

Earlier in the day, Eisen — who has been in office since 2019 — told Michigan radio station WPHM that he and other state legislators might take action to challenge Biden’s victory.

Eisen declined to describe exactly what the plan was.

“It’ll be all over the news later,” Eisen said. “I’m on a football team, and we have one more play.”

“Can you assure me that this is going to be a safe day in Lansing, nobody’s going to get hurt?” host Paul Miller said.

“No,” Eisen.

Eisen did not reply to requests for comment from The Washington Post.

The loss of committee assignments will have little practical impact on Eisen, as the punishment lasts only until Michigan’s legislative term ends on Dec. 31. But it seemed intended to signal that Michigan’s House Republicans wanted to distance itself from Eisen, and whatever plan he is involved in.

Biden won Michigan by 154,000 votes, the widest margin of victory in the six contested states that sealed the president-elect’s victory. But, despite that margin, Michigan has been the scene of several post-election dramas — as Trump and his allies used baseless claims of voter fraud to lean on the state’s bipartisan “boards of canvassers,” who were required to certify the vote. The vote was ultimately certified.

After Eisen’s comments, the Republican leaders of Michigan’s state House and Senate issued statements rejecting the idea that the state legislature could overturn Biden’s win and choose pro-Trump electors at the last moment.

“Michigan’s Democratic slate of electors should be able to proceed with their duty, free from threats of violence and intimidation. President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris won Michigan’s presidential election. It our responsibility as leaders to follow the law and move forward in pursuit of policies that contribute to the betterment of Michigan,” said Mike Shirkey, the Michigan Senate’s Republican majority leader.

By: David A. Fahrenthold and Tom Hamburger

11:14 AM: First states cast votes for Trump as electoral college voting continues

Indiana and Tennessee both cast 11 electoral votes for Trump, while New Hampshire awarded its four votes for Biden, as electoral college voting continued as expected.

With Vermont reporting its three votes earlier, all four states with 10 a.m. meeting times have wrapped up their sessions. Trump currently has 22 votes, while Biden has seven.

If all goes as expected, Biden will finish the day with 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232 by the end of the day.

By: John Wagner

11:05 AM: Biden marks Sandy Hook anniversary with a call for ‘common sense’ gun reforms

© Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post President-elect Joe Biden speaks at an event in Wilmington, Del., last week.

Biden marked the eighth anniversary of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., with a statement pledging “common sense reforms” and offering condolences to the families of the 20 young children and six staff members who were gunned down.

“No matter how long it’s been, every time you talk about it, you relive it as though you just heard the news,” said Biden, who was vice president at the time. “Eight years later, I know the pain never fully heals. I think about how that day eight years ago was the saddest day we had in the White House.”

Biden said the intervening years have brought “plenty of thoughts and prayers, but we know that is not enough.”

“Together with you and millions of our fellow Americans of every background all across our nation, we will fight to end this scourge on our society and enact common sense reforms that are supported by a majority of Americans and that will save countless lives,” he said, without specifying what reforms he would advocate.

By: John Wagner

10:20 AM: Vermont casts its three electoral votes for Biden

Vermont became the first state to report its electoral college outcome, casting its three votes for Biden for president and Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) for vice president.

Vermont is one of four states where electors were scheduled to convene at 10 a.m. The others are Indiana, New Hampshire and Tennessee. Other states are meeting in state capitals throughout the day.

By: John Wagner

9:45 AM: ‘There’s no way to upend the election results today,’ GOP election lawyer says

Republican election lawyer Benjamin L. Ginsberg said the results of the 2020 presidential election will not change on Monday as members of the electoral college gather in state capitals to formally vote for Biden as the next president, even as Trump continues to falsely claim victory.

“There’s no way to upend the election results today. Causing trouble is a much lower bar to pass,” said Ginsberg, who helped lead the 2000 Florida GOP recount legal strategy, in a Washington Post live interview.

“So nothing within the legislative chambers themselves done by the electors I think will change the result we’re going to see at the end of the day,” he added. “Today is the day that it really is over — we said that about five times already but this is the day when it all becomes official.”

The gatherings of electors will take place throughout the day, and Ginsberg detailed how they will sign ballots “denoting who they are voting for.”

“From there you just look to see if there are any faithless electors, people who sort of go off the reservation and vote for somebody other than their declared candidates in the state,” he said. “And I suppose there’s a little bit of a threat of demonstrations around those electoral college votes, which is certainly out of the ordinary.”

The votes will be formally counted Jan. 6 during a joint session of Congress.

Ginsberg also said there isn’t any “real end game strategy” that lawmakers could implement Jan 6. that is “going to in any way, shape, manner or form change the results of the electoral college. They can slow things down and raise procedural objections.”

By: Paulina Firozi

9:06 AM: Trump senior adviser blames ‘corporate media’ for string of court losses

© Patrick Semansky/AP (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

Trump senior adviser Stephen Miller insisted Monday that Trump still has a chance to prevail as the victor in the presidential race and blamed “corporate media” for the string of court losses endured by the president’s campaigns and its allies.

“The pressure from the corrupt corporate media to make everybody cave and bend is overwhelming,” Miller said during an appearance on Fox News’s “Fox & Friends.” “It is overwhelming. And so yes, judges are caving. Yes, politicians are caving. We need heroes to step up and do the right thing.”

As they try to reverse election results, Trump and his allies have lost more than 50 cases in federal and state courts. That included a rejection Friday by the U.S. Supreme Court of a Trump-backed suit seeking to negate the results in four battleground states won by Biden.

During his Fox News interview, Miller insisted the Trump campaign still has time before the inauguration to reverse results in contested states won by Biden.

“The only date in the Constitution is Jan. 20,” he said, referring to the inauguration date. “So we have more than enough time to right the wrong of this fraudulent election result and certify Donald Trump as the winner of the election.”

By: John Wagner

8:35 AM: Potential family conflicts arise for Biden and aides as his administration drafts new ethics rules

© Andrew Harnik/AP President-elect Joe Biden, right, embraces his son Hunter Biden, left, in Wilmington, Del., on Nov. 7.

The last time Biden worked in the White House, his son-in-law Howard Krein mentioned that executives from his health-care start-up firm would be visiting Washington. The vice president promptly arranged a meeting between the group, which included Krein’s brother, Steven, and President Barack Obama in the Oval Office.

“He knew about StartUp Health and was a big fan of it,” Howard Krein, the husband of Biden’s daughter Ashley, told the Philadelphia Business Journal in 2015. “He asked for Steve’s number and said, ‘I have to get them up here to talk with Barack.’ ”

Now Biden is preparing to step back into the Oval Office with radically different expectations about how he will handle the relationship between his official power and his family’s private interests.

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By: Michael Scherer

8:07 AM: Analysis: Today’s electoral college vote could push more Republicans to back Biden’s win. Or not.

Today is the day that 538 members of the electoral college will gather in their respective state capitals across the country to formally cast their presidential votes.

The requirement, established in federal law, to “meet and give their votes on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December” is usually a largely ceremonial part of the democratic process.

Today’s votes are especially significant: They stand to put another dent in Trump’s effort to overturn Biden’s victory by promoting baseless fraud claims and unsuccessfully pressuring state lawmakers to back alternate electors to select him instead.

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By: Jacqueline Alemany

7:21 AM: Wall Street Journal editor blames ‘cancel culture’ after critics blast op-ed on Jill Biden

© Salwan Georges/The Washington Post Jill Biden removes her mask before speaking to the Michigan Education Association in East Lansing, Mich., in October.

The Wall Street Journal this weekend published an op-ed that opened by addressing incoming first lady Jill Biden as “kiddo,” and argued she should drop the honorific “Dr.” from her name because she’s not a medical doctor.

As critics bashed it as sexist and Northwestern University distanced itself from the professor emeritus who penned it, Michael LaRosa, a spokesman for Jill Biden, said the Journal “should be embarrassed” and added: “If you had any respect for women at all you would remove this repugnant display of chauvinism from your paper and apologize to her.”

On Sunday, though, Paul A. Gigot, the Journal’s editorial page editor, doubled down on the piece, calling the attacks a bad-faith example of “cancel culture.”

“Why go to such lengths to highlight a single op-ed on a relatively minor issue?” he wrote in a letter to readers. “My guess is that the Biden team concluded it was a chance to use the big gun of identity politics to send a message to critics as it prepares to take power. There’s nothing like playing the race or gender card to stifle criticism.”

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By: Katie Shepherd

7:07 AM: Biden to speak after electoral college voting concludes

© Joshua Lott/The Washington Post President-elect Joe Biden announces Cabinet nominees on Friday in Wilmington, Del.

Biden plans to address the nation on Monday from Wilmington, Del., after the electoral college formally votes, cementing his election as the next president of the United States.

According to his transition team, Biden’s remarks will focus on “the strength and resilience of our democracy.”

In most presidential elections, the vote of the electoral college is a largely ceremonial gesture, as electors who cast ballots for president and vice president are expected to follow the results of the popular votes in their states.

But Monday’s vote, which is unfolding throughout the day in state capitols across the country, has taken on added significance as Trump continues to falsely claim he won the election.

In some states, electors are meeting in person, while in others, the vote is happening virtually. Many plan to live-stream the events.

The votes are scheduled to be formally counted in a joint session of Congress, which will take place Jan. 6, and the president is inaugurated on Jan. 20.

By: John Wagner

7:01 AM: Trump advertises no events as electoral college prepares to cement Biden’s victory

Trump has advertised no public appearances on Monday, the day that the electoral college plans to meet in state capitols around the country and cement Biden’s victory.

According to the White House, Trump plans to have lunch with Vice President Pence before signing an executive order on “increasing economic and geographic mobility.” Both events are listed as closed to the press.

Separately, Pence is scheduled to lead a videoconference with governors on the coronavirus response. Vaccine distribution is expected to be high on the agenda.

By: John Wagner

6:47 AM: Michigan closes legislative buildings due to ‘credible threats of violence’

© Paul Sancya/AP A protester carries a Don’t Tread On Me flag during a rally at the Capitol building in Lansing, Mich. last month.

In April, maskless protesters armed with assault rifles crowded inside the Michigan Capitol, screaming at police and rallying against stay-at-home orders. Months later, federal law enforcement agents unearthed an alleged plot by several of those demonstrators to storm the building and kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D).

Now, “credible threats of violence” ahead of the state’s electoral college vote Monday — a pivotal step in cementing the swing state’s votes for Biden — have forced Michigan’s top lawmakers to close all legislative offices in Lansing.

Gideon D’Assandro, a spokesman for State House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R), confirmed on Sunday to The Washington Post that state House and Senate leadership consulted with Michigan State Police regarding the threats. The state Capitol, where the vote is set to take place, was already set to be closed to the public Monday.

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By: Teo Armus

6:44 AM: Trump slams reported plans for Cleveland’s baseball team to drop ‘Indians’ as name

© Tony Dejak/AP Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Cam Hill delivers in the ninth inning of a doubleheader against the Chicago White Sox in July.

Trump lamented reports late Wednesday night that Cleveland’s professional baseball team will drop “Indians” as its name, calling the anticipated move “cancel culture at work!”

“Oh no! What is going on?” Trump tweeted. “This is not good news, even for ‘Indians’. Cancel culture at work!”

The planned name change, confirmed Sunday night by an official familiar with the team’s plans, follows years of pressure and protest from Native American groups and others who viewed the name as racist and insensitive.

Trump has also resisted other changes meant to address insensitivities, including the renaming of U.S. military bases that honor Confederate generals.

By: John Wagner

6:43 AM: Loeffler’s campaign says senator had ‘no idea’ she took picture with former KKK leader

© Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) appears at a December rally in Valdosta, Ga.

Smiling and sporting a dark green cap with an American flag, Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) posed side-by-side with a former Ku Klux Klan leader at a Friday campaign event in Dawsonville, Ga.

But after the viral photo with Chester Doles drew intense criticism amid a crucial Senate runoff campaign, the senator is now distancing herself from any association with the longtime white supremacist. A campaign spokesman told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Sunday that Loeffler was unaware that she was posing with a man who spent decades in the KKK and the neo-Nazi National Alliance.

“Kelly had no idea who that was, and if she had she would have kicked him out immediately because we condemn in the most vociferous terms everything that he stands for,” Stephen Lawson, Loeffler’s campaign spokesman, told the Journal-Constitution in a statement Sunday.

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By: Andrea Salcedo

6:41 AM: Trump overturns plan to have White House officials be among the first to receive vaccine

© Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post A Marine stands guard outside the West Wing doors, signifying that President Trump is in the Oval Office at the White House on Tuesday.

Trump said late Sunday that he was overturning a controversial plan to have White House officials be among the first Americans to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, hours after it was announced publicly.

Earlier on Sunday, the New York Times first reported that senior Trump administration officials would receive some of the first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which are otherwise reserved for front-line health-care workers. The plans were confirmed by other news outlets, including The Washington Post, and in a statement by National Security Council spokesman John Ullyot, who said senior government officials in all three branches would “receive vaccinations pursuant to continuity of government protocols established in executive policy.”

Many critics immediately cried foul, pointing out that Trump and top members of his administration have repeatedly downplayed the seriousness of the pandemic while ignoring public health authorities’ pleas to wear masks and avoid large gatherings. It wasn’t clear whether Trump was directly addressing that criticism, but on Sunday he tweeted that people who work in the White House “should receive the vaccine somewhat later in the program, unless specifically necessary.”

“I have asked that this adjustment be made,” he added.

Trump also said in the tweet that he is “not scheduled to take the vaccine” but looks forward to “doing so at the appropriate time.” Former presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama have already volunteered to be vaccinated on live television or in a public setting to build trust and confidence in the vaccine.

By: Antonia Noori Farzan

6:37 AM: Public officials face personal threats as tensions flare

State and local officials of both parties have warned that Trump’s increasingly desperate tweets about election fraud are fueling the potential for violence as well as another ominous trend of 2020, in which public servants and others who disagree are targeted at their offices and homes with armed protests, harassing phone calls and stalkers.

Last week, an “enemies” list of state and federal officials who rejected Trump’s baseless election conspiracy theories floated up from the dark corners of the Web, with home addresses listed and red targets over their photos, the latest in a string of threats to public officials.

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By: Hannah Knowles, Annie Gowen and Tom Hamburger

6:31 AM: Inside the ‘nasty’ feud between Trump and the Republican governor he blames for losing Georgia

© Provided by The Washington Post

The first major fissure in the relationship between Trump and Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) came a year ago, when Kemp paid Trump a clandestine visit in the White House residence.

On the Sunday before Thanksgiving, Kemp flew up to Washington to introduce Trump to Kelly Loeffler, an Atlanta business executive he wanted to appoint to fill his state’s open U.S. Senate seat.

But when Kemp and Loeffler finally got their audience with the president, Kemp presented Loeffler as a fait accompli — telling Trump that he wanted the president to meet the woman he was planning to name to the Senate.

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By: Ashley Parker, Amy Gardner and Josh Dawsey

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