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The famous electoral college electors will finally vote on Monday, so how does it all work?

One way or another, it should lock in Joe Biden for the US presidency.

US President-elect Joe Biden.
US President-elect Joe Biden.
Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

WE’RE NOW ABOUT halfway through the US presidential transition and Monday is a crucial day as part of the process.

On Monday the electors will officially meet to cast their vote for the presidency, essentially locking in Joe Biden’s inauguration next month.

When US voters cast their ballots on 3 November, they did not directly elect the next president but rather 538 ‘electors’ charged with selecting the president.

Anyone who paid any attention to the US election will know that winning the presidency is all about having the requisite number (270) of electors, or electoral college votes.

The number of electoral college votes each state has is based on how many representatives it has in congress, which is in turn based on population.

For example, there are 39 electors in Texas, 55 in California and three in Wyoming.

In all but two of the states, when a candidate in presidential elections gets the most amount of votes in the state they get all the electoral college votes in that state.

The electors can only be formally chosen when a state has ‘certified’ its electoral results. This effectively means when a state says it has finished counting and has declared a winner.

The Donald Trump campaign has launched dozens of legal actions in various states in bids to either halt counting or to force recounts with little success for the US president.

Out of the roughly 50 lawsuits filed around the country contesting the 3 November vote, Trump has lost more than 35 and the others are pending.

The process of making Biden president passed an important mark last Tuesday with the deadline for states to have certified their results.

Following that, this coming Monday is the day when the electors meet in their respective states to cast their votes.

The day is actually written down in law as saying the electors have to vote “on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December”. This year that falls on 14 December.

Among the electors include South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, a Trump elector who could be a 2024 Republican presidential candidate, and Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams, her party’s 2018 nominee for governor and a key player in Biden’s win in the state.

Electors are bound to vote for the person certified by their state and there are fines if they do not follow those directions.

After the electors cast their ballots, the votes then have nine days to arrive in Capitol Hill.

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The schedule sees the votes getting to Capitol Hill in time for the new Congress to be sworn in on 3 January.

Three days later, members of the House of Representatives and Senate meet to read and count the votes.

Congress is therefore tasked with choosing the president based on those votes ahead of inauguration day on 20 January.

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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