The US electoral college have confirmed Joe Biden’s presidential election victory, one of the final steps required for him to take office.
The president of the United States is not chosen directly by voters, but by electoral college composed of electors whom voters from their constituencies cast ballots. These representatives will in turn formally vote for candidates’ weeks after the election.
The Democrat presidential candidate, Joe Biden had in November’s contest won with 306 electoral college votes to Republican Donald Trump’s 232.
The state of California, with its 55 electors, was one of the last states to vote on Monday and took Mr Biden across the 270-vote threshold required to win the presidency.
Heightened security had been put in place in some states, including Michigan and Georgia, ahead of voting, which took place in state capitals and Washington DC.
In Michigan – a key swing state which Mr Biden won – legislative offices in the state capital Lansing were closed due to “credible” threats of violence.
The vote at the capitol building went ahead peacefully although a group of Republicans tried to enter the building to disrupt the process but were repelled by security detailed for the location.
“The people have spoken. It was a safe, fair and secure election,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat who had been the subject of a kidnapping plot foiled by FBI last year. “After today, the results will be final.”
The results of the voting process will be sent to Washington DC and formally counted in a joint session of Congress on 6 January presided over by Vice-President Mike Pence. This will now pave the way for Joe Biden to be sworn in as president on 20 January.
Meanwhile, Trump has announced on Monday that the US Attorney General, William Barr is stepping down before Christmas notwithstanding that his term was due to end on 20 January, when the president leaves office.
The scenario is not unconnected with the brewing tension between the two after Barr said there was no widespread evidence of voter fraud in November’s election. He was criticised by Trump for not publicly disclosing that the justice department was investigating Joe Biden’s son during the campaign.
Mr Trump tweeted Mr Barr’s resignation letter saying: “Our relationship has been a very good one, he has done an outstanding job!”
Deputy Attorney General Jeff Rosen will serve as acting attorney general, Mr Trump said.