Joseph R. Biden Jr. was affirmed as the president-elect on Monday as members of the Electoral College pushed him past the 270 threshold to win the White House, all but ending a disruptive chapter in American history in which President Trump sought to use legal challenges and political pressure to overturn the results of a free and fair election.
The president-elect passed the threshold after California cast its 55 votes for Mr. Biden on Monday afternoon, capping a day marked by heightened security in battleground states and an unusual level of scrutiny for what is normally a formal, procedural affair.
With supporters of President Trump promising to mount protests outside of some statehouses, officials took extra steps to ensure the safety of the electors. Lawmakers in Michigan, citing credible threats, closed the Capitol building to the public, as did those in Wisconsin, where electors in Madison were ushered into a side entrance at the State Capitol for the noon vote.
Yet Monday’s votes were largely smooth, and protests did not disrupt the proceedings. Indeed, in many battleground states, police presence outnumbered protesters, and the normally staid process carried out by the Electoral College went uninterrupted.
“It’s not just out of tradition but to show folks, especially now more than ever, our system works,” said Gov. Chris Sununu, the Republican governor of New Hampshire, before the electors in his state all cast their votes for Biden on Monday morning.
The vote on Monday officially sends Biden to the White House, as he assumes the presidency next month after a trying election marked by deep divisions and a devastating pandemic that crippled the country and disrupted voting.
Biden has been working aggressively to fill out his cabinet to prepare for when he takes office in January, aiming to have a team ready to combat the coronavirus and begin the long recovery.
The vote followed six weeks of unprecedented efforts by Trump to intervene in the electoral process and change the outcome of an election he lost by about seven million votes.
He was joined by many Republicans who supported his unfounded claims of voter fraud, including 126 party members and 17 state attorneys general who supported a case before the Supreme Court that legal experts said had no merit. The court rejected the case on Friday.