Hundreds of votes were cast Monday by Electoral College participants in another step toward officially declaring the winner of this year’s presidential election.

As expected, the incoming Joe Biden-Kamala Harris administration won by a large majority — 306 to 232 electoral votes.

Biden lauds Electoral College results

“If anyone didn’t know it before, they know it now. What beats deep in the hearts of the American is this: democracy,” President-elect Biden said in a speech Monday evening after the all of the electoral votes were reported. “The flame of democracy was lit in this nation a long time ago.”

“And we now know, nothing — not even a pandemic or an abuse of power — can extinguish that flame,” Biden said. The incoming president said it was the “courage and commitment” of local election officials that keep democracy alive.

“Which is proof once more, that it’s everyday Americans, infused with honor, character and decency, that is the heart of this nation,” Biden added.

Biden went to say that outgoing President Donald Trump — who also lost the popular vote — had “every single avenue” to contest the results of the election, and did not convince a court of voter fraud, including the Supreme Court, to overturn the election.

The president-elect reiterated a campaign promise to a be a “president for all Americans.”

The results

With California’s 55 votes, Biden cleared the 270-electoral-vote mark to formalize his presidential victory, according to the Associated Press. Biden won that state by 5 million votes.

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Utah casts its 6 electoral votes for President Donald Trump

Hawaii’s four electoral votes were the last reported that gave Biden the final tally of 306, according to The Washington Post.

Trump has yet to concede the election.

The process

On the “first Monday after the second Wednesday of December,” the nation’s 538 electors — who represent each member of Congress and three electors for Washington, D.C. — cast ballots in their respective states and in D.C. for the next president and vice president, according to federal law.

The electoral votes will be counted Jan. 6, 2021, in a joint session of Congress, where Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris are to be formally declared the winners of the 2020 presidential election. Biden’s inauguration will then take place Jan. 20.

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Utah casts its 6 electoral votes for President Donald Trump

On Monday, electors cast separate ballots based on how the popular vote turned out in each state. With the exception of Nebraska and Maine, all of the electors of each state vote for the candidates who won the state’s popular vote — a winner-take-all system. A majority of 270 total votes is needed to win the White House.

The states’ electors met in person to vote on paper ballots. The ballots are then counted and certified. Six certificates are then sent to the following locations: one goes to the president of the U.S. Senate (who is the vice president of the United States), two are sent to the state secretary of state, two are sent to the archivist of the United States and finally to the U.S. District Court, according to Congressional Research Service.

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The system, described in the Constitution, has its detractors and supporters. Those who like it cite its constitutional origins designed to give less populated states influence in presidential elections, while others argue the system has been problematic from the early days of the nation by not always reflecting the will of the overall population.

In the past 20 years, two Republicans, George W. Bush and Donald Trump, were elected by winning the Electoral College vote while losing the national popular vote. In 2000, Democrats Al Gore won the popular vote by half a million votes and Hillary Clinton won it by nearly 3 million votes in 2016, Deseret News reported.

That didn’t happen this year. Biden beat incumbent Trump by more than 7 million popular votes, according to a tally from The Associated Press.

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Last week, all states but Wisconsin certified their election results ahead of the Dec. 8 “safe harbor” deadline. The safe harbor deadline ensures that Congress accepts a state’s electoral votes when they are counted in Washington early next month.

Wisconsin, which has 10 electoral votes and not enough to change the results of the presidential election, failed to certify in time for the “safe harbor” because of ongoing efforts to overturn the state’s vote for incoming President-elect Biden, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Contested results

The technical steps toward electing a president are typically not news. However, that changed this year when the president and his allies claimed widespread voting irregularities and fraud in swing states that resulted in Trump’s loss.

U.S. Attorney General William Barr announced earlier this month that the Justice Department had found no evidence of widespread voter fraud that would overturn the presidential election.

Over the weekend, The New York Times reported, thousands of pro-Trump supporters marched in Washington, D.C., and some state capitals, to dispute the results of last month’s election. The Times reported that four people were stabbed in Washington, and in Olympia, Washington, a counter protester — protesting against the pro-Trump marchers — was apparently shot.

NBC News reported that Black Lives Matter signs at historically Black churches in Washington were also burned and destroyed during the pro-Trump protests.

The protest happened in the wake of the Supreme Court rejecting a last-ditch petition filed by the Texas attorney general, and backed by Trump, disputing results in several swing states. Utah’s attorney general also joined Texas in the complaint.