Fifty-one days after the November 3 national elections in the United States, the elected members of the National Electoral College assembled in their respective states last Monday, December 14, and cast their votes for president and vice president of the United States.
The voting result in each state is now official. But not the national total which was just put together by the press – 306 electoral votes for Joseph Biden of the Democratic Party against 232 for Donald Trump of the Republican Party, known as the Grand Old Party (GOP). California’s 55 electors put Biden over the 270 votes needed to become president
The official total will be declared only on January 6 when the US Congress meets in special session to count the 50 states’ electors’ votes. It will be another 14 days before he takes his oath of office on January 20.
This lengthy process of electing a US president was devised by the founding fathers of the United States who wanted the actual counting of votes in the hands of an Electoral College, independent of the state politicians in the state legislatures.
In this year’s election, President Trump sought to overturn the election results in some states with the aid of state legislatures as well as the Supreme Court. Some state legislatures dominated by the Republican Party like Texas, went along with this campaign, only to lose in the courts.
All the election results that have been reported so far have been unofficial – reporting by the nation’s press. In all previous elections, these unofficial press counts had been accepted bv all political leaders, including losing candidates and the general public. This year most of the GOP leaders have followed Trump’s lead in refusing to acknowledge Biden’s win.
But with the Electoral College vote last Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who leads the GOP-dominated Senate, said, “The Electoral College has spoken. I congratulate President-elect Biden.”
The whole world continues to look on at the continuing spectacle of American politics. We in the Philippines are glad the problems posed by Trump’s efforts to overturn his loss in the election are slowly being resolved, without the violence attending political disputes in some other countries.
The US is our staunchest ally in the world today, our political system is patterned after that of the US, and its election problems may one day come up in some form in our own elections. Should that time ever come, we hope we will be able to resolve our problem with the same capability as is now being demonstrated by the US, its system of government, and its leaders.