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Pennsylvania, Nevada certify Biden as winner of presidential vote


Pennsylvania and Nevada certified Democrat Joe Biden’s U.S. presidential election victory on Tuesday, dealing further blows to President Donald Trump’s efforts to subvert the results. Georgia, meanwhile, began a machine recount of the roughly five million votes cast in the presidential race in the state.

Two more states certified their presidential election results for Joe Biden on Tuesday. The Democratic president-elect, meanwhile, announced members of his foreign policy and national security team for when he takes office.(Mark Makela/Getty Images) 

Pennsylvania and Nevada certified Democrat Joe Biden’s U.S. presidential election victory on Tuesday, dealing further blows to U.S. President Donald Trump’s efforts to subvert the results.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf first disclosed in a tweet that the Department of State had certified the vote count for president and vice-president. Wolf, a Democrat, sent a “certificate of ascertainment” to the national archivist in Washington with the slate of electors who support president-elect Biden and vice-president-elect Kamala Harris.

Nevada’s Supreme Court, meanwhile, made Biden’s win in the state official after it approved the state’s final canvass of the Nov. 3 election. The unanimous action by the seven nonpartisan justices sends results to Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak that will deliver six electoral votes from the western U.S. battleground state to Biden.

The court action drew extra scrutiny amid legal efforts by the state Republican Party and Trump campaign to prevent sending vote-by-mail ballots to all 1.82 million active registered voters and then to stop the counting of the 1.4 million votes that were cast.

Nevada’s six Democratic presidential electors are scheduled to meet on Dec. 14 in the state capital of Carson City. Pennsylvania’s 20 electors, a mix of elected Democrats, party activists and other staunch Biden backers, will meet in the state capital of Harrisburg the same day.

Biden’s win in Pennsylvania put him over the 270 electoral college votes needed to become president, leading The Associated Press to declare him the president-elect on Nov. 7. Biden has collected 306 overall electoral votes to Trump’s 232.

The Pennsylvania results show Biden and Harris with 3.46 million votes, Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence with 3.38 million and Libertarian Jo Jorgensen with 79,000.

Biden won Nevada by 33,596 votes, according to results approved by elected officials in the state’s 17 counties — including Clark County, which encompasses Las Vegas, and Washoe County, which includes Reno. Biden received 50.06 per cent of the vote and Trump 47.67 per cent.

Transition underway despite Trump’s lingering legal efforts

On Monday, the General Services Administration (GSA), the U.S. federal agency that must sign off on the presidential transition, told Biden that he can formally begin the transition process.

“I’m pleased to have received the ascertainment from GSA to carry out a smooth and peaceful transition of power so our teams can prepare to meet the challenges at hand: to control the pandemic, to build back better, and to protect the safety and security of the American people,” Biden said Tuesday while introducing his national security and foreign policy team.

Biden says foreign policy, national security team will make Americans proud

While announcing a foreign policy and national security team that he says will keep Americans safe and secure, U.S. president-elect Joe Biden expressed his gratitude for state certifications that he says help ‘wrap up’ the presidential election. 

Biden said his selection for secretary of state, Antony Blinken, would rebuild morale and trust in the U.S. State Department, which is responsible for the country’s diplomatic relationships. In addition to Blinken, Biden’s team includes Jake Sullivan as national security adviser and Linda Thomas-Greenfield as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

The team embodied his core belief “that America is strongest when it works with its allies,” Biden said. “It’s a team that reflects the fact that America is back, ready to lead the world, not retreat from it,” he told a news briefing in Wilmington, Del.

Transition approval ‘as close as we’re likely to get’ to a Trump concession, journalist says

Marc Fisher, a senior editor with the Washington Post, said U.S. President Donald Trump will remain publicly defiant despice the General Services Administration’s official approval of President-elect Joe Biden’s transition. 

Trump has made Pennsylvania a centrepiece of his unsuccessful legal attempts to invalidate the election results. A federal judge on Saturday dealt a serious blow to the campaign’s legal efforts by dismissing a lawsuit he said lacked evidence and offered “strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations.”

If appeal fails, case could go to Supreme Court

Lawyers for Trump’s campaign are taking their case to a federal appeals court, but Pennsylvania officials told the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday it should reject the bid.

Even if Trump was able to overturn the election results in Pennsylvania, he would need to invalidate the results in two other key states to change the outcome of the election.

“Trump did not succeed in Pennsylvania and he will not succeed anywhere else,” Bob Bauer, an adviser to Biden, said in a statement on Tuesday.

If the campaign loses its appeal, it could ask the U.S. Supreme Court to take up its case.

Certification of the Nevada vote does not stop several lawsuits pending in state and federal courts. They include bids for re-votes by two Republican congressional candidates and a state Senate challenger, an open-records case by the state GOP and a U.S. District Court action alleging that thousands of ineligible people voted.

A federal judge in that case declined a bid for an immediate injunction that would have stopped the use of a signature verification scanner during the vote count.

Georgia begins recount

In Georgia, county election workers began a machine recount of the roughly five million votes cast in the presidential race in the state, just days after completing a hand tally that confirmed Biden’s lead.

The recount was requested by Trump after certified results showed him losing the state to Biden by 12,670 votes, or 0.25 per cent. Under state law, the losing candidate can request a recount when the margin is less than 0.5 per cent. Trump’s campaign on Saturday formally requested the recount.

Counties were allowed to begin the machine recount at 9 a.m. ET Tuesday, and they have until 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 2 to wrap it up.

Last Thursday, election officials announced the results of a hand tally in the presidential race that stemmed from an audit but was not considered an official recount under state law.

The day after Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced that the tally confirmed Biden’s lead, he certified the election results. Gov. Brian Kemp then certified the state’s slate of 16 presidential electors, a group of prominent Democrats.

Under state elections board rules, an official recount must be conducted by machine, specifically high-speed scanners that read and tabulate the votes.

State election officials have said that it’s possible the results of the recount could be slightly different from the original tally, but they’ve said it’s very unlikely it would be enough to change the overall outcome of the election.

Biden’s campaign echoed that in a call Tuesday with reporters.

“Georgia voters have selected Joe Biden to be their next president,” Biden campaign attorney Patrick Moore said.

“We’re confident that this second recount, which is in fact a third time the votes have been counted, will simply reaffirm Joe Biden’s victory in Georgia.”


With files from Reuters

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