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Electoral College Formalizes Biden as President-elect

State electors certify that Biden and Harris each received 306 Electoral College votes

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris

OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images

En español | The Electoral College made it official on Monday, that President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris won a total of 306 Electoral College votes, more than enough than they need to be sworn in on Jan. 20, 2021.

The certification by Electoral College electors across the country sets the stage for a joint session of Congress to meet on Jan. 6 in the House of Representative chamber to ratify those results.

Biden’s victory was fueled in large part by a record-setting number of ballots cast by mail in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The President-elect received nearly 81.3 million votes, a record in a year that saw a historic number of Americans cast their ballots. President Donald Trump garnered 74 million votes and 232 Electoral College votes.

The results also mean that Harris will become the first woman and the first person of color to be elected vice president.

Control of Senate still up in the air

In Congress, Democrats won enough seats to retain their majority in the House of Representatives, but the outcome of some competitive races was still in doubt.

In the U.S. Senate, it was unclear whether Republicans would retain control. Democrats need to pick up a net four seats in the Senate to wrest control from the Republicans, but under a Biden presidency, Democrats need a net gain of three seats because Harris would provide the tie-breaking vote as vice president. So far, the Democrats have a net gain of one seat.

The final tally in the Senate will be decided in two Jan. 5 runoff elections in Georgia. As the election results stand now, Republicans have 50 seats and the Democrats have 48. The two Senate elections held in Georgia will be decided in a runoff because in neither race did the winner receive at least 50 percent of the vote.

In the special election to fill the term of former Sen. Johnny Isakson, Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler and the Rev. Raphael Warnock will face off. In the other regular Senate race, incumbent Republican Sen. David Perdue will run again against Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff.

If either Loeffler or Perdue win the runoff, Republicans will maintain their majority in the U.S. Senate. If both Democrats — Warnock and Ossoff — prevail, the Democrats will control the Senate.

In other Senate races, former NASA astronaut Democrat Mark Kelly defeated incumbent Republican Sen. Martha McSally in Arizona, and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper beat Republican Sen. Cory Gardner. In Alabama, retired Auburn football coach Republican Tommy Tuberville prevailed over incumbent Democratic Sen. Doug Jones. In Maine, incumbent Republican Sen. Susan Collins was reelected. 

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect the Electoral College deliberations.

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