The Official Presidential Election is Today

The 538 members of the Electoral College will meet in the 50 state capitals and in D.C. today to cast their ballots in the 2020 presidential election. It is this election that officially chooses the President of the United States, as stated in Article Two, Section One, of the U.S. Constitution:

Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.

The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by Ballot...

The national vote that took place on 03 November is technically non-binding (remember, in 2016 Donald Trump lost that vote by 3 million); but the popular votes cast in each of the 50 states and in D.C. are how their respective legislatures, as per their responsibility in Article Two, appoint their electors: More or less, the winner of each state’s popular vote is allotted the entire slate of presidential electors (the two slight exceptions are Maine and Nebraska, which choose their electors based on the popular vote in each congressional district).

If electors cast their ballots as per the dictate of their state’s voters, today’s result should be:

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris (Democratic): 306
Donald Trump and Mike Pence (Republican): 232

Thirty-three states have laws that forbid electors from casting their ballots for anyone except the candidate chosen by the voters in that state (laws that were, earlier in the year, upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States). Many of those state laws, however, do not provide for any penalty or any mechanism to prevent the deviant vote from being cast and counted. While there were seven “faithless electors” in the 2016 election (a rather high number), such shenanigans aren’t expected during today’s votes.