Biden Transition Live Updates: Electoral College Vote Underway Across the Country

Photo of author

By admin

Credit…Nicole Craine for The New York Times

The Electoral College was nearing completion Monday afternoon of the process that will officially designate Joseph R. Biden Jr. as the president-elect, as electors in battleground states President Trump had contested — Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Georgia and Arizona — voted with no surprises or defections.

Stacey Abrams, the former Democratic candidate for governor in Georgia, announced the state’s 16 votes for Mr. Biden.

“As we stand here today about to make history,” said Representative-elect Nikema Williams, the state Democratic Party chairwoman who will be sworn into Congress next month, “we know this result was not luck. It was thanks to the hard work of organizers, volunteers and voters across Georgia.”

Indeed, despite palpable tensions across the country and rumors of mass protests at electoral meeting sites, wrought in large part by the rhetoric of the president, the Electoral College process appeared to be proceeding smoothly.

“It’s not just out of tradition but to show folks, especially now more than ever, our system works,” said Gov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire, a Republican, in opening remarks before the state’s four electors cast their ballots for Mr. Biden.

Voting is continuing throughout the day, with the schedule determined by individual states. California, the state with the most electors, will most likely push Mr. Biden past the 270-vote threshold needed to win the presidency when it votes at 5 p.m. Eastern.

Nevada’s six electors all cast their votes for Mr. Biden, as expected, holding their ballots in front of the camera during the virtual meeting, and voters in Pennsylvania cast their ballots, giving 20 electoral votes. The states are two of five that some of Mr. Trump’s closest allies in the House are eyeing to challenge on Jan. 6 in a final-stage effort — all but certain to fail — to reverse Mr. Biden’s victory.

Though the meeting of the Electoral College is an important moment in American democracy, it is rarely one that becomes a major political event. But as the president has continued his campaign to subvert the election, the vote on Monday had loomed as an important deadline, made all the more unusual because there was no state in which the vote was close enough to leave its result in doubt.

Despite the definitive defeat in the Electoral College, Mr. Trump has remained defiant, spending his weekend attacking the Supreme Court for rejecting a Texas lawsuit against four battleground states and issuing more baseless accusations about the election from his Twitter account. The president has shown no indication he intends to concede the election.

The increasingly caustic remarks from the president have kept tensions high, with some states providing security for the sites where the electors will convene and protests expected in some swing states that Mr. Trump has targeted in recent weeks.

The vote will largely remove any cover for Republicans in Congress who have refused to acknowledge Mr. Biden as the president-elect. In providing Mr. Trump the room to dispute his loss, Republicans in Congress presented the Electoral College vote as the new marker for when a presidential victory should be recognized.

“Everything before Monday is really a projection,” Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee told Chuck Todd on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday. “If the president loses, and it appears that he will when the electors vote, he should put the country first, take pride in his accomplishments, congratulate Joe Biden and help him off to a good start.”

The Monday vote was not in doubt. But Mr. Alexander’s appearance on Sunday showed the party’s tortured position as it seeks to accommodate the anti-democratic push of its standard-bearer.

Rick Rojas contributed reporting.

Supporters of President Trump praying outside the Arizona State Capitol in Phoenix on Monday.
Credit…Adriana Zehbrauskas for The New York Times

Long a routine part of American democracy, the work of the 538 men and women in the Electoral College this year has been thrust into the spotlight amid President Trump’s extraordinary efforts to overturn the results of the election.

As electors gathered to cast their votes on Monday, some aspects of the day reflected the unsteadiness of the time — the coronavirus pandemic and, in some areas, security concerns from expected demonstrations. But as of early afternoon, the day appeared to be going smoothly as the gears of democracy continued to turn.

Before the official votes, Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland, a Republican who was an early critic of Mr. Trump’s efforts to sow doubt about the election results, called the event on Monday a “civics lesson” in “how our democracy works.”

From Connecticut — where the state troubadour, Nekita Waller, performed “Lift Every Voice,” and electors put their ballots in a box said to be made of wood from the Connecticut Charter Oak — to Nevada, where electors held up their votes for the camera in a Zoom call, the political system functioned as it long has.

In Georgia, the corridors of the State Capitol were empty and quiet as electors gathered in the State Senate chamber to cast 16 electoral votes in favor of Mr. Biden. Barricades were placed around the capitol grounds, but there were no crowds leaning up against them.

Credit…Jessica Mcgowan/Getty Images

Still, masked and heavily armed members of a right-wing group took to the streets in Atlanta, along with unarmed Trump supporters, in front of the Georgia state capitol building, and were met by left-wing protesters, some of whom were also carrying assault rifles. The groups were eventually shooed away from the capitol building by police.

In frigid Wisconsin, where municipal workers cleaned up snow in 20-degree temperatures, the state’s highly contested 10 electoral votes went to Mr. Biden.

Residents and politicians alike sounded frustrated at the ongoing attempts to overturn their state’s vote.

“I think it’s kind of futile,” said Madison city worker Patrick McGuigan, 54, of continued protests and efforts to overturn the election. “I think the Electoral College will do what it’s intended to do, which is to declare Joe Biden as our next president.”

In the neighboring state of Michigan, a few dozen people showed up at the State Capitol, carrying signs calling on the electors and Republican Party to “Stop the Steal.” But there was also a large police presence on site to escort electors into the Capitol and keep protesters out.

But the protest couldn’t be heard inside the ornate Senate chambers, where the Democratic electors did their jobs in an eerily silent chamber, with its grand chandeliers, historical portraits and gold columns ringing the room.

As one of the state’s 16 electors, Robin Smith called her mother Monday morning to talk about her historic role casting a vote for Mr. Biden.

“As a Black female, it really means everything to me,” said Ms. Smith, 57, a librarian in the Lansing school district. “My mom reminded me that when I came into this room today, that I brought my mother, my grandmother and my great-grandmother in with me because Black females have played such a huge part when it comes to the Democratic Party.”

Credit…Brittany Greeson for The New York Times

Rhode Island’s governor, Gina M. Riamondo, Skyped into the meeting while in quarantine — but did it from her car in the parking lot of the State House. And before Alabama’s nine electors cast their votes, one man showed up at the meeting dressed as Uncle Sam.

Louisiana’s eight electors, in a sign of dissent, passed a resolution commending Mr. Trump for his service as president.

And in Kentucky, the state’s electors swore they have never been involved in a duel with a deadly weapon at swearing-in ceremonies, adhering to a clause put into the state Constitution in 1850 to “dissuade” officials from solving their differences with gun duels.

As he has in the past, President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Monday plans to express confidence that the democratic process would survive an assault by President Trump.
Credit…Hilary Swift for The New York Times

President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. plans to declare that “it is time to turn the page” on the 2020 election in a speech Monday evening after the Electoral College formally casts its votes for him to replace President Trump on January 20.

“We the People voted,” Mr. Biden plans to say, according to excerpts provided by his transition team. “Faith in our institutions held. The integrity of our elections remains intact. And so, now it is time to turn the page. To unite. To heal.”

Mr. Trump has sought for weeks to reverse the outcome of the election with baseless and unproven accusations of voter fraud in the swing states that delivered the victory to Mr. Biden. The president has refused to concede while he and his allies have undermined faith in the country’s democratic system of governance.

Even on Monday, as the electors gathered in states around the country to cast their votes, Mr. Trump tweeted about a “Rigged Election!” and “massive fraud,” allegations that were quickly labeled as “disputed” by Twitter.

In his speech, Mr. Biden is expected to express confidence that the defining feature of American democracy — its electoral process — would survive Mr. Trump’s assault.

“If anyone didn’t know it before, we know it now. What beats deep in the hearts of the American people is this: Democracy,” Mr. Biden plans to say. “The right to be heard. To have your vote counted. To choose the leaders of this nation. To govern ourselves. In America, politicians don’t take power — the people grant it to them.”

As he has for weeks, Mr. Biden plans to keep his focus on the raging coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 300,000 people in the United States. Though first responders, doctors and others have begun receiving the first doses of a vaccine, Mr. Biden is expected to warn that the months ahead will be difficult.

“There is urgent work in front of all of us,” he plans to say. “Getting the pandemic under control to getting the nation vaccinated against this virus. Delivering immediate economic help so badly needed by so many Americans who are hurting today — and then building our economy back better than ever.”

Election observers, right, watching election officials during the recount of ballots in Milwaukee last month.
Credit…Tannen Maury/EPA, via Shutterstock

The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Monday denied President Trump’s attempt to invalidate more than 200,000 votes in the state’s two biggest Democratic bastions for the second time this month.

The ruling ends the president’s efforts to overturn the result of the election just hours before the Electoral College is set to cast the state’s 10 votes for President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.

In a 4-3 decision, the conservative-leaning court rejected the Trump campaign’s attempt to throw out votes in Milwaukee County and Dane County, which includes Madison.

The campaign had asked courts to throw out votes cast by voters who declared themselves indefinitely confined, voters who delivered absentee ballots at October events hosted by the Madison city clerk, voters who cast ballots at in-person early-voting sites and absentee ballots in which the voter’s witness did not provide a complete mailing address.

“We conclude the Campaign is not entitled to the relief it seeks,” wrote Justice Brian Hagedorn, a conservative who sided with the court’s three liberal justices. He added that “the challenge to the indefinitely confined voter ballots is meritless on its face, and the other three categories of ballots challenged fail under the doctrine of laches” — meaning that the campaign took too long to file the suit.

The State Supreme Court had already rejected on Dec. 3 an attempt by the Trump campaign to file the suit directly with it. So the Trump campaign refiled the suit in lower courts in Milwaukee and Madison, then when those courts ruled against it, appealed to the Supreme Court, which heard the case.

Monday’s ruling snuffs out the faint legal hope Mr. Trump had of flipping Wisconsin from Mr. Biden, who won the state by 20,000 votes out of 3.2 million cast.

In their dissent, three of the court’s conservative justices argued the Trump campaign found “troubling allegations of noncompliance with Wisconsin’s election laws” by municipal clerks and the state elections commission.

“The majority’s failure to act leaves an indelible stain on our most recent election,” Justice Rebecca Bradley wrote, in a dissent signed by two conservative justices. “It will also profoundly and perhaps irreparably impact all local, statewide, and national elections going forward, with grave consequence to the State of Wisconsin and significant harm to the rule of law.”

She added: “The majority’s failure to discharge its duty perpetuates violations of the law by those entrusted to administer it.”

The Trump lawsuit did not allege any fraud in Wisconsin’s election. Instead it argued that municipal clerks in Milwaukee County and Dane County should not have been allowed to complete address forms for witnesses to absentee ballots, which the Wisconsin Elections Commission had given them permission to do. State law requires absentee voters to have witnesses sign their ballot envelopes.

The suit did not seek to invalidate ballots cast anywhere else in the state — where voters are far more likely to have supported Mr. Trump.

The lawsuit also asked the court to invalidate ballots that were collected by the Madison municipal clerk at October gatherings in city parks, though those events were also blessed by the elections commission.

It also sought to throw out ballots cast by voters who declared themselves indefinitely confined to their homes during the coronavirus pandemic.

And, in its boldest argument, the Trump campaign argued that all in-person absentee ballots were cast in violation of state law — an assertion that would have thrown out its own lawyer’s vote.

Dr. Yves Duroseau received the vaccine at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park, N.Y., on Monday.
Credit…Brendan Mcdermid/Reuters

There has never been a Monday quite like this one — an unmistakable, if unpredictable, coinciding pivot for the presidency and a pandemic that has killed nearly 300,000 Americans.

State by state, the typically unobserved clockworks of American democracy began to click into place as electors ratified the victory of the 46th president of the United States, Joseph R. Biden Jr., despite attempts by the 45th president to subvert the results by strong-arming local Republicans to overturn the will of voters.

Around 10 a.m. Eastern, electors in Indiana, New Hampshire, Tennessee and Vermont had gathered for the formal process of affirming Mr. Biden’s clear national victory. There was no doubt about the outcome — despite President Trump’s efforts to encourage the belief that there was — and the president-elect was expected to pass the necessary threshold by early evening.

In a sign of a new abnormal ushered in by Mr. Trump’s behavior, electors in some states have had to deliberate in tight security, sometimes in out-of-the-way locations, after they have been threatened for simply doing their constitutional duty.

At the same time, other machinery — more industrial than ceremonial — was set into motion as the first batches of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine, which left a plant in Michigan Sunday evening to the cheering of onlookers, began arriving in virus-ravaged cities around the country.

Federal officials said 145 sites were set to receive the vaccine on Monday, 425 on Tuesday and 66 on Wednesday. A majority of the first injections are expected to be given to high-risk health care workers on Monday, although the relatively small amount of vaccine delivered will fall short of offering protection to all those who are eligible to get it.

But it could signal the beginning of the end.

On Monday, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, who will continue on as a central federal architect of the virus response under Mr. Biden, said he believed most Americans who wanted the vaccine could probably get it by later March or early April.

In an interview with MSNBC, Dr. Fauci said that plans to vaccinate Mr. Biden were “under discussion” amid reports that White House officials had planned to vaccinate top-level Trump administration officials.

Mr. Trump, whose efforts to downplay the severity of the pandemic were a focus of the election, began the day, as he often does lately, posting a tweet laden with falsehoods about the “Rigged Election.” The message was flagged by Twitter.

Yet, the president, who remains eager to take credit for the unprecedented scientific effort to rush the development of the vaccine, could not deny himself a victory lap on the day his political defeat was to become formal.

“First Vaccine Administered. Congratulations USA! Congratulations WORLD!” he wrote.

A member of Iowa’s Electoral College signing the certificate of vote on Monday at the statehouse in Des Moines.
Credit…Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

The members of the Electoral College are gathering in their respective states today to cast their official ballots for president. Here’s more on how the voting will work, and on the next steps in the process:

Can I watch the Electoral College vote?

Yes — most states offer livestreams to watch the proceedings, including crucial battlegrounds won by President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. Here are links for four of them: Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Georgia.

The electors don’t meet in one place or at the same time; some start at 10 a.m. Eastern, and most vote in the afternoon.

How does the Electoral College voting work?

The electors cast their ballots for president and vice president via paper ballot. Thirty-three states and the District of Columbia legally require their electors to choose whoever won the state’s popular vote, so there should be no surprises there. The other 17 states don’t “bind” their electors, meaning they can vote for whomever they choose. But the likelihood of “faithless electors” switching sides and handing the election to President Trump is essentially zero.

After the votes are counted, the electors sign certificates showing the results. These are paired with certificates from the governor’s office showing the state’s vote totals. The certificates are sent to Vice President Mike Pence, in his capacity as president of the Senate; the Office of the Federal Register; the secretary of state of the respective state; and the chief judge of the Federal District Court where the electors meet.

What happens next?

Congress officially counts the votes in a joint session held in the House chamber on Jan. 6, with Mr. Pence presiding. When Mr. Biden reaches a majority with 270 votes, Mr. Pence announces the result.

The session cannot be ended until the count is complete and the result publicly declared. At this point, the election is officially decided. The only remaining task is the inauguration on Jan. 20.

Can members of Congress block the results?

There is no debate permitted during the counting of the electoral votes. But after the result is read, members of Congress get one opportunity to lodge their concerns.

Any objection to a state’s results must be made in writing and be signed by at least one senator and one member of the House. The two chambers would then separate to debate the objection. Each member of Congress can speak only once — for five minutes — and after two hours the debate is cut off. Each body then votes on whether to reject the state’s results.

What’s the likelihood of Congress changing the outcome?

Stopping Mr. Biden from assuming office remains a long-shot strategy for Republicans.

For an objection to stand, it must pass both houses of Congress by a simple majority. If the vote followed party lines, Republicans could not block Mr. Biden’s victory.

After months of impasse, lawmakers are now staring down a Friday deadline to complete a must-pass government funding bill.
Credit…Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times

A bipartisan group of centrist members of Congress on Monday presented a pair of compromise measures totaling $908 billion that were intended to break the stalemate in negotiations on another round of stimulus to address the economic fallout from the virus.

One of the bills would provide $748 billion to fund an array of programs that have generated consensus in the stimulus talks, including the revival of federal unemployment payments and a popular small business loan program, as well as funding for vaccine distribution, food aid, schools and other institutions struggling to stay afloat because of the pandemic. A second measure includes the two biggest sticking points to a deal: $160 billion to bolster state and local governments, and a temporary coronavirus liability shield for businesses, nonprofits, schools and hospitals.

The group’s bifurcated plan amounted to an effort, with only days left for Congress to agree on a pandemic aid plan before the holidays, to generate an agreement that all sides could embrace, but it faced hurdles as some Democrats signaled they found it insufficient, and it was not clear whether Republicans would embrace it.

Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, had previously proposed jettisoning the two sticking points and instead approving a narrow stimulus measure. Democrats have been resistant to a liability shield, which they say could harm worker protections, and Republicans have been staunchly opposed to what many of them have derided as a “blue-state bailout” for state and local governments.

It was unclear whether the moderates’ bipartisan compromise, first outlined shortly after Thanksgiving, will be part of any final deal. Members of the group — including Senators Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, Mark Warner, Democrat of Virginia and Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia — have huddled for days to hammer out the details.

Senator Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent, has warned Democratic leaders that he would oppose any agreement that did not include direct payments to Americans of $1,200 per adult and $500 per child, a provision that was not expected to be included in either of the bipartisan plans.

“If the United States government wants the American people to have faith in their government in this time of emergency, it has got to respond,” Mr. Sanders said in a phone interview. “My immediate demand is two things: You’ve got have strong unemployment benefits, and we’ve got to have the $1,200, plus $500. That’s what has to be in any proposal that is passed.”

The release of the two bills comes as Congress stares down a Friday deadline to complete a must-pass government funding bill, which lawmakers and aides are close to finishing. An agreement on the spending legislation could emerge as soon as later Monday.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California was expected to speak with Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, as they worked to reach a deal on both government funding and a stimulus plan.

President Trump has suffered a string of losses in his attempt to reverse his defeat.
Credit…Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times

Despite recently suffering the most consequential in a string of defeats in his quest to subvert the results of November’s election, President Trump continued to insist over the weekend that his plans to challenge his loss were “not over.”

“It’s not over. We keep going,” Mr. Trump said in an interview with Fox News that aired on Sunday and was taped on Saturday at the Army-Navy football game. “And we’re going to continue to go forward.”

The president’s vow to press on came after the Supreme Court rejected a Texas lawsuit against four battleground states, in effect ending his attempt to overturn the results. Mr. Trump’s allies have also lost dozens of times in lower courts. The Electoral College meets on Monday to cement President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s win.

Many top Republicans in Congress continued to stand by Mr. Trump in refusing to recognize Mr. Biden as the president-elect. Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the No. 2 House Republican, did so again on Sunday, arguing on “Fox News Sunday” that the legal process was not over despite the Supreme Court ruling.

“There will be a president sworn in on Jan. 20, but let this process play out,” he said.

Some party elders, though, have begun to say more than a month after Election Day that it is time to move on.

“The courts have resolved the disputes. It looks very much like the electors will vote for Joe Biden,” said Senator Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee, in a prerecorded interview aired Sunday by NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Mr. Trump has made baseless claim after baseless claim of election fraud in his attempt to deny Mr. Biden’s victory. Some states “got rigged and robbed from us,” he falsely claimed in the Fox interview. “But we won every one of them.”

When the interviewer, Brian Kilmeade, tried to ask if Mr. Trump would attend Mr. Biden’s inauguration, Mr. Trump interrupted. “I don’t want to talk about that,” he said. “I want to talk about this. We’ve done a great job.”

He also tore into Attorney General William P. Barr again for not violating Justice Department guidelines against publicly discussing open cases and trying to keep information from leaking out about an investigation into the finances of Mr. Biden’s son, Hunter, during the presidential campaign.

Mr. Trump, who spent months denouncing the work of Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel investigating ties between the Trump campaign and Russian officials, used Mr. Mueller as a positive example when compared with Mr. Barr.

The president noted that Mr. Mueller had said that an article by BuzzFeed News claiming that Mr. Trump had directed his lawyer to lie to Congress was flawed. He argued that Mr. Barr should have contradicted Mr. Biden’s statements in one of the presidential debates minimizing questions about his son.

“Bill Barr, I believe — not believe, I know — had an obligation to set the record straight, just like Robert Mueller set the record straight,” Mr. Trump said, saying that Mr. Mueller “stood up” against a false report.

Francisco Velasquez, in red, a young Guatemalan who lost his home in a hurricane, hoped to work in Florida but was arrested and returned to Mexico at this crossing in Sasabe on the border with Arizona.
Credit…Adriana Zehbrauskas for The New York Times

After a steep decline in border crossings through much of this year, interceptions of unauthorized migrants are climbing again, setting the stage for the first significant challenge to President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s pledge to adopt a more compassionate policy along America’s 1,100-mile border with Mexico.

Detentions in October were up 30 percent over September, and the figure in coming months is expected to be even higher, despite the biting cold in the Sonoran desert.

The rising numbers suggest that the Trump administration’s expulsion policy, an emergency measure to halt spread of the coronavirus, is encouraging migrants to make repeated tries, in ever-more-remote locations, until they succeed in crossing the frontier undetected.

And they are likely the leading edge of a much more substantial surge toward the border, immigration analysts say, as a worsening economy in Central America, the disaster wrought by Hurricanes Eta and Iota and expectations of a more lenient U.S. border policy drive ever-larger numbers toward the United States.

“If there is a perception of more-humane policies, you are likely to see an increase of arrivals at the border,” said T. Alexander Aleinikoff, director of the Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility at the New School in New York.

“That doesn’t mean that those flows cannot be adequately handled with a comprehensive set of policies that are quite different from Trump’s,” said Mr. Aleinikoff, “but you need a well-functioning bureaucracy to handle it.”

Mr. Biden has vowed to begin undoing the “damage” inflicted by the Trump administration’s border policies. He has said he will end a program that has returned tens of thousands of asylum seekers to Mexico and restore the country’s historical role as a safe haven for people fleeing persecution.

But swiftly reversing Trump administration policies could be construed as opening the floodgates, risking a rush to the border that could quickly devolve into a humanitarian crisis.

Any misstep would threaten a replay of 2014 and 2016, when the Obama administration scrambled to stem a chaotic influx of migrants from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Human-rights groups were outraged when families and children were locked up and deportations were accelerated. Immigration hard-liners attacked Mr. Obama for allowing tens of thousands to enter the United States and remain in the country while their asylum cases wound through the courts, which can take years.

Protesters outside the State Capitol in Lansing, Mich., on Monday as the Electoral College prepared to cast its votes.
Credit…Brittany Greeson for The New York Times

Two top Republican state legislators in Michigan have stripped a state representative of his committee assignments after he suggested that efforts to block Monday’s Electoral College vote, which would deliver the state to President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr., could turn violent.

“Can you assure me that this is going to be a safe day in Lansing, nobody’s going to get hurt?” a local radio host asked the representative, Gary Eisen, a Trump supporter, hours after legislative leaders shuttered legislative offices over threats that groups were intending to violently disrupt the process.

“No,” responded Mr. Eisen, according to audio of the interview. “I don’t know because what we’re doing today is uncharted. It hasn’t been done.”

Mr. Eisen said that the Constitution gave legislators the right to stop the electors if the state’s results were not “up and up.” He complained that the security measures, emanating from bomb threats and implemented by leaders in his own party, prevented pro-Trump legislators from entering the Capitol to protest the proceedings.

He said that he still planned to participate in an “event” organized by Republicans but, when pressed, he declined to elaborate on what it would entail other than to say it would be “all over the news later on.”

When his interviewer, Paul Miller of WPHM in Port Huron, interrupted to call those plans “dangerous,” Mr. Eisen replied, “It is dangerous.”

Republican leaders in the state House of Representatives responded quickly after his comments were circulated widely on social media, citing the federal indictment of 13 far-right extremists for plots that included kidnapping Michigan’s Democratic governor, Gretchen Whitmer, and storming the State Capitol to protest coronavirus restrictions.

“We have been consistent in our position on issues of violence and intimidation in politics — it is never appropriate and never acceptable,” wrote House Speaker Lee Chatfield and Speaker-elect Jason Wentworth.

“We as elected officials must be clear that violence has no place in our democratic process. We must be held to a higher standard,” they added. “Because of that, Rep. Eisen has been removed from his committee assignments for the rest of the term.”

Mr. Eisen did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

He currently serves as vice chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and serves as a member of the agriculture, local government and environmental committees.

Ms. Whitmer said the threat of violence was discouraging.

“I think that every person, whether they are a man or a woman, Republican or anyone Democrat, Yooper or downstater,” she said, using nicknames for people who live in the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of Michigan, “should be able to stand up and say we respect our institutions, even if we don’t like the result.”

Last month, Mr. Trump summoned Mr. Chatfield and the Senate majority leader, Mike Shirkey, to the White House in a bid to get lawmakers to substitute their own slate of electors. The two men, both rumored to be interested in higher office, were hesitant to go and rebuffed his request.

Mr. Biden won Michigan by about 150,000 votes, a much greater margin than in the other most hotly contested battlegrounds. The electors are expected to affirm those results on Monday afternoon.

Kathleen Gray contributed reporting.

People waiting in line to vote in Atlanta on Monday.
Credit…Lynsey Weatherspoon for The New York Times

With high stakes for both parties, early voting started on Monday in the Senate runoff races in Georgia. The two contests will determine whether Republicans can maintain their majority in the chamber.

Both of the state’s Republican senators, David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, were forced into runoffs against Democratic challengers. Mr. Perdue faces Jon Ossoff, the chief executive of a media production company; Ms. Loeffler is being challenged by the Rev. Dr. Raphael G. Warnock, the senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, a prominent pulpit in Atlanta that had once belonged to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Since Election Day, the runoffs, scheduled for Jan. 5, have been impossible to escape for Georgia voters. Ads from candidates have blanketed local television and radio stations, and coverage of the campaigns dominates the local news media. In and around Atlanta, roadside signs urge residents to get out and vote — once again.

“I feel like all eyes are on Georgia right now,” said Joanne Williams.

“It can go in any direction,” Ms. Williams, 27, said, “but I hope that people show up and practice their right to vote.”

The voting began as Georgia has been in the center of the national political spotlight for weeks. Because of their outsize role in deciding the partisan balance of the Senate, the runoffs have drawn a substantial amount of outside attention and investment.

State Democrats have been newly invigorated, with President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. becoming the first presidential candidate from the party to win Georgia since 1992. Mr. Biden will visit the state on Tuesday to campaign for Mr. Warnock and Mr. Ossoff.

Georgia has also been a primary stage in President Trump’s fight to challenge the outcome of the presidential election, sparking conflict among state Republicans as Mr. Trump raised baseless claims of election fraud and attacked the state’s governor, Brian Kemp, a Republican.

Mr. Trump continued his criticism over the weekend. “What a fool Governor @BrianKempGA of Georgia is,” the president said in a Twitter post on Sunday. He repeated his argument that Mr. Kemp should have called a special session of the State Legislature in an effort to overturn the election in his favor. And he argued that the situation could spell for a “bad day for two GREAT Senators on January 5th.”

Raymond Floyd, 37, said he felt the charged energy and excitement of the moment as he waited in a line outside the High Museum of Art in Midtown Atlanta, a few miles from the state capitol building. Mr. Floyd, who planned to vote for Mr. Ossoff and Mr. Warnock, said, “I like democracy at work.”

But he added, “Once this election is over, I’m ready for a sense of normalcy and a sense of respect.”

Jannat Batra contributed reporting.

Source link

Leave a Comment