Speed Reads

2020 election

Electoral College to vote, formalize Biden's victory, in state capitals nationwide

The Electoral College will vote Monday, formalizing President-elect Joe Biden's win in the Nov. 3 election. The electors will meet in their respective state capitals and Washington, D.C., to cast paper ballots. (Nevada electors are meeting virtually this year.) Biden will likely receive his full 306 electoral votes and President Trump will get 232. The process is typically a largely ceremonial formality, but it is getting increased attention this year because Trump has not conceded, claiming falsely that massive fraud cost him the election. Biden plans to address the nation Monday night on "the Electoral College vote certification and the strength and resilience of our democracy."

After the electors vote, their ballots will be delivered to the president of the Senate by Dec. 23, though there is no penalty if a state misses that deadline. Congress will meet in a special joint session on Jan. 6 to count the electoral votes. Vice President Mike Pence will preside over the count, making him the eighth U.S. vice president charged with announcing that the ticket he ran on lost the election. The last vice president put in that awkward position was Al Gore in 2001.

Biden defeated Trump by more than 7 million votes and 4.5 percentage points, but under the Electoral College system, the winner of the popular vote does not always win the presidency. Gore narrowly won the popular vote and lost the Electoral College, while Trump lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million ballots in 2016 but still won the election.