Michigan electors unanimously vote for Biden, Harris

Michigan electors cast 16 votes for Biden, Harris

The Michigan electors meeting on Dec. 14, 2020 inside the Lansing Capitol building in Lansing, Mich. (WDIV)

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan’s electors gathered Monday to cast Electoral College votes to officially seal the presidential election win for Joe Biden.

UPDATE: The Michigan electors have unanimously cast 16 Electoral College votes for Joe Biden for president. They also unanimously cast 16 votes for Kamala Harris for vice president.

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Michigan has 16 electors to reflect the number of senators and representatives it has in the U.S. Congress. Presidential candidates on the Michigan ballot submit a list of 16 qualified electors to the Secretary of State’s Office.

More: What’s in store when the Electoral College meets

According to Michigan law, all 16 Michigan electoral votes automatically go to the presidential candidate who won the popular vote, which in this case was Joe Biden. The vote, usually held in December, is a formality.

What do electors do?

The Electoral College doesn’t meet in one place. Instead, each state’s electors and the electors for the District of Columbia meet in a place chosen by their legislature, usually the state capitol.

The election is low tech. Electors cast their votes by paper ballot: one ballot for president and one for vice president. The votes get counted and the electors sign six certificates with the results. Each certificate gets paired with a certificate from the governor detailing the state’s vote totals.

Those six packets then get mailed to various people specified by law. The most important copy, though, gets sent to the president of the Senate, the current vice president. This is the copy that will be officially counted later.

Threats close Capitol buildings

Michigan State House, Senate and Capitol buildings will be closed Monday as the Electoral College meets.

Press Secretary Amber McCann said Sunday night the closure was due to recommendations from law enforcement who reported credible threats of violence.

“The decision was not made because of anticipated protests, but was made based on credible threats of violence,” McCann said. “Senate leadership does not have the authority to close the Capitol. That decision is made by the Capitol Commission.”

Electors will be given police escorts Monday and one said she’s taking things further and will be wearing a bullet-proof vest.

What happens next?

Once the electoral votes are cast, they are sent to Congress, where both houses will convene on Jan. 6 for a session presided over by Vice President Mike Pence. The envelopes from each state and the District of Columbia will be opened and the votes tallied.

If at least one member of each house objects in writing to some electoral votes, the House and Senate meet separately to debate the issue. Both houses must vote to sustain the objection for it to matter, and the Democratic-led House is unlikely to go along with any objections to votes for Biden. Otherwise, the votes get counted as intended by the states.

And then there’s one more step: inauguration.


About the Author:

Ken Haddad is the digital special projects manager for WDIV / ClickOnDetroit.com. He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013.