California’s 55 electors put Joe Biden over the 270 Electoral College votes needed to become president shortly after 5 p.m. ET Monday, affirming Biden’s election as the 46th president of the United States.
Electors for all 50 states and the District of Columbia gathered in their respective capitols on Monday to cast ballots.
The Electoral College’s vote, however, is not the final step in the constitutional process of selecting a president. The votes cast on Monday are sent to Congress, where they will be counted on Jan. 6 in a joint session led by Vice President Mike Pence.
Many congressional Republicans who have refused thus far to say that Biden won the election have claimed they are waiting for Monday’s Electoral College vote to certify the results. But some of Trump’s staunchest House Republican allies are preparing for a floor fight when the votes are counted in Congress next month.
Lawmakers can dispute a state’s election result when the votes are counted next month. But a challenge can only be considered if both a House member and a senator sign onto it. So far only House Republicans have said they will contest the results, although some GOP senators have suggested they are considering joining.
Even if a senator signs on to challenge the results, it’s only delaying the inevitable. In that case, the House and Senate separately debate the matter for two hours and vote on it. Democrats control the House, and enough GOP senators have already said they reject Trump’s claims of fraud that a challenge would not succeed there either.
After the state electors cast their ballots on Monday, those results will be certified and sent to Congress, the National Archives and to the courts.
On Jan. 20, a new president takes the oath of office at noon.
Read more about the next steps here.