CNN was the first network to call the 2020 election for former Vice President Joe Biden, after projecting him the winner in Pennsylvania. The state’s 20 electoral votes put Biden over the 270 vote threshold.
The projection came on Saturday, Nov. 7, five days after election day. The only call to take longer was the election of 2000, which resulted in President George W. Bush being called the winner several weeks later.
Trump prematurely claimed victory on election night, and has made several allegations of voter fraud in the time since. Phrases like “STOP THE COUNT” and the various warning labels Twitter has placed on many of the President’s posts have become viral memes.
The president and his campaign falsely claimed victory on Twitter in multiple states before counting was finished.
Recounts in Georgia and Wisconsin, along with several lawsuits by the Trump campaign, have failed to make any changes to election results.
The president has continued to lie on Twitter about states that narrowly swung from Trump in 2016 to Biden in 2020, like Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania was one of five states that Biden flipped. Three of them (Wisconsin, Arizona and Georgia) were decided by less than one percent of the vote.
Those states have certified their results despite the president’s lawsuits, however Trump will still have legal opportunity to challenge the results in Arizona and Wisconsin.
Biden will officially become the winner when the electoral college officially cast their votes on Dec. 14. Before that date, each state will need to certify their results and finalize the appointment of their electors. Only a few states have yet to certify.
Individual states have the power to choose how to appoint their electors. Those electors typically cast their vote based on the state’s election results. However, according to federal law, electors can vote for whomever they choose.
Pennsylvania and Georgia are among the few states with no laws regarding faithless electors, according to FairVote.org.
“Faithless electors” are those appointed to the electoral college who vote for someone other than who won the election. It has only rarely happened in U.S. history, and it has never flipped an election.
Several states have laws requiring electors to vote faithfully, or to replace or penalize those who don’t. Nebraska law requires electors to vote faithfully, or they will be replaced.
Some have suggested that Republican state legislatures in Pennsylvania and Georgia should appoint electors for Trump, instead of Biden. One Pennsylvania State Senator introduced a resolution to do so, however opponents argued that changes to the appointment process must be made prior to the election.
If Republicans in Pennsylvania and Georgia managed to appoint faithless electors to vote for Trump, it would be incredibly controversial. The president would still fall short of winning the election, as he would end up with only 268 electoral votes.
Politico reported that some House Republicans have considered challenging the election in Congress, which would be Trump’s last option for subverting democracy.
On Jan. 6, the newly elected House of Representatives and Senate will vote to certify the Electoral College results. If a House member and a senator both object, Congress will have to debate and vote on the matter.
This was attempted by a few House Democrats in 2001 and 2017, however no senator signed on either time. In 2005, a House Democrat and senator objected to Ohio’s results, however both Houses overwhelmingly rejected it.
Melanie Zanona then confirmed on Wednesday that Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama told Politico he plans to challenge the electoral college vote. He said he’s spoken to other Republicans in Congress, but none have signed on with him.
Zanona said that the maneuver would “force a politically toxic vote” which could become a “Trump loyalty test for Republicans.”
The president’s election debacle has tested the loyalty of many in his party. Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, who has had issues with the president before, congratulated Biden soon after he was announced the winner.
Gov. Pete Ricketts didn’t acknowledge Biden’s win until Nebraska certified its results on Nov. 30. He said he doesn’t plan to send the president-elect congratulations.
Other Republicans have accepted the results, but powerful GOP Leaders like Mitch McConnell, who has a history with Biden, have not publicly acknowledged the winner.
Attorney General William Barr declared Tuesday that the U.S. Justice Department has uncovered no evidence of widespread voter fraud. Outlandish claims by Trump attorney Sidney Powell have been debunked, and the White House has since cut ties with her.
Despite the concerns and conspiracies of the president and many of his supporters, the election seems increasingly unlikely to be overturned. On Jan. 20, Biden is expected to be inaugurated as President of the United States, whether Trump is there to congratulate him or not.