The American states of Pennsylvania and Michigan are preparing to certify, on Monday, the results of their presidential elections that gave victory to Democratic Party candidate Joe Biden. The deadline for confirming results in states where President Donald Trump complains of fraud ends early next week, and after that it will be virtually impossible to halt Biden’s inauguration.
Joe Biden’s vote counting advantages have been increasing since the night of November 3, and nationwide the Democratic Party candidate already has six million more votes than Trump, for a total of almost 80 million.
When there are still between two and three million ballots left, it is certain that Biden will be elected with more than 80 million votes – a new record for a candidate in a US presidential election since 1789, and ten million more than what Barack Obama received in his historic November 2008 election.
By comparison, Donald Trump was elected in 2016 with a national total just under 63 million votes. This year, Trump received ten million more votes than four years ago, and he also sets a new record: he is the loser with the most votes in all of US history, and the second most voted candidate ever, behind Biden.
But the American electoral system is different from the one that Europeans are used to, including in Portugal, where the President is chosen by direct vote of voters.
In the USA, the electoral night is just the first step towards a long marathon towards the inauguration day, in this case on January 20, 2021. In between is the Electoral College, the process through which each state indicates to Congress of the USA who was the winner of the respective presidential election.
After the results are announced by the main news agencies and television channels (which have offices dedicated to the collection of electoral information throughout the country, which are generally accurate in their projections), official certification begins several days or a few weeks later in each of the 50 states: first with the certification of the results by each of the counties in each state, and then with the certification of these raw results by the respective state panels.
And this is where the process lies, when the eyes are on the decisions of the panels of the states where Donald Trump complains of electoral fraud: Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona and Nevada, with a total of 79 college votes Electoral.
The first of these states to close the door on Trump was Georgia, where a Democratic candidate was no longer the most voted since Bill Clinton in 1992.
On Friday, Georgia’s governor, Republican Brian Kemp, certified the results and now has until December 8 to nominate the 16 major voters who represented Joe Biden in the presidential election. These voters will meet on December 14 to confirm their vote in Biden; and the last step is taken on January 6, with the reading and certification of these votes from the Electoral College by the US Congress.
Trump’s election campaign called for a recount of votes in Georgia on Saturday, within the legal timeframe after the results were certified. But changes are not expected: after a first audit last week, in which the nearly five million votes were counted by hand, no discrepancies were found that would jeopardize Biden’s victory – which would have to happen if there had been electoral fraud using the manipulation of voting machines.
And the recount requested by Trump will be made using the same machines that were at the beginning of the process, which should only reconfirm the current results.
Doubt in Michigan
After Georgia, this Monday, Pennsylvania and Michigan will follow. If Pennsylvania’s secretary of state certifies the results – as expected, after a court ruling against Trump announced on Saturday – Biden will be just one vote from the Electoral College for an official victory.
The question is Michigan, where the results certification panel meets on Monday, with an apparent division between its four members. On the one hand, the two representatives of the Democratic Party are preparing to confirm the count of the various counties, which gave the victory to Biden; on the other side, it is possible that the two representatives of the Republican Party will vote against and that this will mark the beginning of an audit of the votes.
In this case too, it is difficult for Biden’s victory to be called into question – it was in Michigan that the Democratic Party candidate registered the biggest difference compared to Trump in the states that are under the eye, exceeding 150,000 votes. And Republican majority leaders in the Michigan Congress have said they will respect the result that is certified, despite pressure from the US President.
Nevada follows on Tuesday, and the last two on the list will certify their results early next week – Arizona on Monday and Wisconsin on Tuesday.
But if Pennsylvania and Michigan (or Pennsylvania and Nevada) certify their results in the next 48 hours, Joe Biden guarantees more than the 270 Electoral College votes needed to be confirmed as President of the USA.
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