Arizona Electors Vote For President-Elect Biden
Arizona’s 11 Electoral College members cast their votes for Democrat Joe Biden and running mate Kamala Harris on Monday, following state law that requires delegates from the party whose candidates received the most votes to back the winning candidate.
The 11 electors chosen by the Democratic party were charged with representing Biden after he won the Nov. 3 presidential election in Arizona by nearly 10,500 votes. Biden was the first Democrat since President Bill Clinton in 1996 to carry the traditionally Republican state.
The vote came as some Arizona Republicans continue to question Biden’s victory over President Donald Trump. Trump backers have filed multiple lawsuits trying to have the Arizona results set aside but state and federal courts have rejected all but one of them. Some are being appealed and the remaining case has a hearing Monday.
The meeting of the Electoral College normally takes place at the Capitol but was held offsite at a location not publicly disclosed because of concerns about protesters. A handful showed up at the Capitol but no incidents were reported.
A state Senate panel also was holding a hearing on the election Monday, although it can do nothing to reverse the Electoral College delegates’ votes.
Some Republicans have called for the Legislature to override voters and seat electors who will back Trump. But GOP leaders of the House and Senate have said they don’t have the power to retroactively change Arizona law requiring the seating of delegates and the mandate that they back the winning candidate.
Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs presided over the ceremony where the electors signed the certificates that confirmed Biden’s win. She had harsh words for the politicization of this year’s process, which she says is normally held amid pomp and circumstance and reverence for the American political system.
“This year’s proceedings ... has unfortunately had a artificial shadow cast over it in the form of baseless accusations of misconduct and fraud for which no proof has been provided and which court after court has dismissed as unfounded,” Hobbs said.
Arizona electors are playing their part in a process that Arizona State University professor David Gartner said is unique among democratic countries.
“Voters, when they go to the voting booth, they pick a candidate, but essentially they are choosing also the electors designated by the party for that candidate,” said Gartner, associated dean of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. “And it is those electors from the candidate who won the most votes in the state, who actually will be meeting on Monday.”
All 50 states and the District of Columbia are assigned a certain number of presidential electors for a grand total of 538. In all but two states, the electors are determined by the outcome of the popular vote for president in that state.
“The parties now select the two slates of electors and the party that gets the most votes. Their electors will be casting those votes,” Gartner said.
It takes at least 270 electors to win the presidency. President-elect Joe Biden won a total of 306 electors, including 11 from Arizona.
A joint session of Congress will meet to certify the electoral college votes on Jan. 6.