The electoral college is due to meet on Monday to choose Joe Biden formally as the next US president, despite the current president’s efforts to subvert the 2020 election results.
On the day set by law for presidential electors to meet, they will cast their ballots, with the results sent to Washington DC to be counted on January 6 at a joint session of Congress.
What is usually an electoral formality has drawn more attention this year following Donald Trump’s refusal to concede.
The president has continued to make unsubstantiated and false allegations of electoral fraud since he was soundly defeated by the Democrat nominee in the election last month.
Biden won 306 electoral votes to 232 votes for Trump. It takes 270 votes to be elected.
Biden also beat Trump by more than seven million votes in the popular vote.
The president-elect is planning to make an address to the nation tonight after the electors have voted.
Following weeks of Republican legal challenges that were easily dismissed by judges, Trump and Republican allies tried to persuade the Supreme Court last week to set aside 62 electoral votes for Biden in four states, which might have thrown the outcome into doubt.
The justices rejected the effort on Friday.
In 32 states and the District of Columbia, laws require electors to vote for the popular-vote winner. The Supreme Court unanimously upheld this arrangement in July.
Electors almost always vote for the state winner anyway because they generally are devoted to their political party. There's no reason to expect any defections this year.
The electoral college was the product of compromise during the drafting of the Constitution between those who favored electing the president by popular vote and those who opposed giving the people the power to choose their leader.
Each state gets a number of electors equal to their total number of seats in Congress: two senators plus however many members the state has in the House of Representatives.
This system has produced five elections in which the president did not win the popular vote, Trump being the most recent example in 2016.