Monday’s Electoral College vote formalizing Joe Biden’s presidential win will be the culmination of months of orchestration by the Biden campaign to ensure minimum drama — and maximum coronavirus safety — while President Donald Trump’s flailing bid to remain in power has shaken other institutions.
Interviews with 25 Democratic electors in five states Biden flipped, as well as Biden campaign and state party officials, reveal a determination to leave as little as possible to chance — a significant change for a process that has typically been a postelection afterthought. The Electoral College process has gotten renewed scrutiny this year, as Trump has resisted his defeat and sought to delegitimize the machinery of the election.
For the Biden campaign, the process began months before the election, as his team worked to ensure that only its most loyal foot soldiers and high-profile leaders secured elector positions. It was a shift from four years earlier, when the neglected process allowed some freelancing activists to secure powerful posts and, in some cases, vote against the popular vote winner in their state.
And the Biden campaign has spent the days since Election Day making sure each of the president-elect’s electors is armed with precise logistical information, transportation and a backup plan, should anything interfere with their ability to arrive on time to cast the official votes to make Biden president — including the possibility that there could be last-minute protests or attempted disruptions from supporters of the president.
“Just like you guys know Dec. 14 is the day, all of those guys know it too,” said Tim Smith, an elector in Michigan, which has been a hotbed of pro-Trump protest activity since the election. Protesters gathered outside Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s home over the weekend (state police said they believed at least some were armed), and several electors cited the incident in interviews.
The Biden camp is confident its extensive preparation for the Electoral College process will guard against any last-minute ploys, disruption or unexpected developments from Trump. Trump continues to falsely assert that he won the 2020 election and trails Biden only because of rampant fraud and misconduct, but his legal team and allies have pointed to the Electoral College vote as a moment that could end Trump’s last-ditch efforts to remain in office.