Over the objections of some House Democrats and shouts from a few protesters in the gallery, part-time Palm Beach resident Donald Trump this afternoon was certified by a joint session of Congress as the electoral vote victor in the 2016 presidential election.
One objection — raised by Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., and quickly ruled out of order by Vice President Joe Biden, who presided over the meeting — contended that 10 of Florida’s 29 electoral votes for Trump should be disallowed because the presidential electors held other offices in the state.
The Florida constitution bars a person from holding more than one office at a time. It does not define “office” or suggest that being a presidential elector qualifies as an office. Florida’s 29 Republican electors included Attorney General Pam Bondi, state Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, six other state legislators, a Jackson County commissioner and a member of the state transportation commission.
Members of Congress can object to the certification of electoral votes, but an objection must be signed by a member of the House and the Senate. No senators signed on to the House members’ objections, so Biden repeatedly rejected efforts by House Democrats to object.
“It is over,” Biden said at one point, drawing applause and laughter from Republican lawmakers.
With 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency, Republican Trump got 304 votes to 227 for Democrat Hillary Clinton. Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, got 305 electoral votes for vice president.
Electoral votes were cast Dec. 19 in state capitals across the U.S., with Trump foes failing in their efforts then to pressure Republican electors to switch their votes away from the Republican nominee.
The Trump-Pence ticket won states with a total of 306 electoral votes, but two Texas electors defected, with one casting a vote for Ohio Gov. John Kasich and one voting for former Texas Rep. Ron Paul.
Clinton won states with 232 electoral votes, but five Democratic electors defected. Rogue Democrats cast three votes for Colin Powell and one apiece for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Yankton Sioux elder Faith Spotted Eagle.