RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Another key step in the 2020 presidential election began on Monday. Electors across the country, including those in the Commonwealth, began voting to determine the 46th President of the United States.
In Virginia, not only has Joe Biden won the popular vote but as of Monday, the president-elect has officially won the state’s electoral vote for president.
The Commonwealth has thirteen electors; this number is based on the total number of U.S. representatives and senators from Virginia. At noon, each elector voted under oath at the State Capitol, unanimously selecting Joseph R. Biden for President and Kamala Harris for Vice President.
Despite the popular vote, the Constitution gives electors the power to choose the next Commander in Chief with a total of 270 votes needed. According to political analysts, when all of Monday’s votes are counted, President-Elect Joe Biden is expected to have 306 votes to President Trump’s 232 votes.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, seating at the State Capitol was limited on Monday with only invited guests, however, the vote was live-streamed. Virginia Governor Ralph Northam was in attendance, delivering brief remarks to electors.
“You all have handled this with grace and dignity and on behalf of Virginia, I say thank you,” Northam said. “Every four years, this is a responsibility in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the voters in Virginia have spoken.”
Along with Governor Northam, several other political leaders spoke, including John O’Bannon and Ellen J. Scott, the college’s temporary presiding officer, who spoke about unity.
“We ask that you heal our divisions and settle our differences and work together,” stated O’Bannon, Vice-Chair of the Virginia Board of Elections.
Scott followed saying, “Today we find our nation facing a divisiveness; the enormity which makes us shutter. As we exercise our role of electors let us never forget that we are heeding the words of Lincoln to bind us the nations wounds.”
All thirteen electors signed the envelopes containing the state votes and they will be sent to Congress in Washington D.C. and counted on Jan. 6. Once that happens, Biden is expected to be inaugurated on Jan. 20 as the 46th President of the United States.