One Step Closer. The Electoral College Vote Today Makes Biden Presidency Almost Inevitable.

Republican John Dane III, a member of Mississippi's Electoral College, dates his signature on the certificate of vote after casting his vote at the state Capitol in Jackson, Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

The growing inevitability of a Joe Biden presidency was set to clear another hurdle by Monday night. The Electoral College on Monday began voting to make President-elect Biden’s victory official. Inauguration Day is set for Jan. 20, and Biden’s margin of victory, as it stood after certification, is expected to be 306 to 232, pending any surprises.

The first states, Indiana, New Hampshire, Tennessee and Vermont, began voting at 10 a.m. ET. The key swing states, including those with largely baseless legal challenges by President Donald Trump, were set to vote during the late morning and afternoon.

Constitutionally mandated, the Electoral College process includes 538 electors who meet in their respective states—most in state Capitol buildings—to cast their votes. These votes are traditionally based on results certified by all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

The Electoral College process, part of every election beginning with the first in 1789, was established as a compromise between the public vote and Congress regarding the ability to elect leaders.

The actual electors are decided before every presidential election. Some electors are recognizable figures. In New York, just after noon ET, former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton, along with Gov. Andrew Cuomo, cast votes for Biden. In South Dakota, Republican Gov. Kristi Noem, who could become a 2024 presidential contender, will cast her vote for Trump. The Monday votes are sent to Washington and counted during a Jan. 6 joint session of Congress.

In Michigan, because of threats, the state Capitol was closed during the vote. California, with its 55 Electoral College votes, could put Biden over the top when it votes at 5 p.m. ET. Hawaii will be the final vote at around 7 p.m., and Biden is expected to deliver remarks around 8 p.m. ET.

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