US election: What you need to know right now in 500 words

Three states that have been the subject of Trump’s legal attempt to flip the vote count will certify results on Monday.

Recount observers watch ballots during a Milwaukee hand recount of presidential votes in Wisconsin [Nam Y Huh/AP]

President Donald Trump is still refusing to concede the United States presidential election, despite a resounding victory by President-elect Joe Biden.

Trump has, as of Monday, not allowed the myriad government agencies that make up his administration to cooperate with Biden’s transition team. The president-elect’s team has nevertheless continued to plan for taking office on January 20 and is set to announce the first members of his cabinet on Tuesday. Biden is projected to win 306 Electoral votes, well above the threshold of 270 needed for victory.

Meanwhile, several key states that Trump has sought to contest are set to certify their official election results on Monday, the first big step in Biden’s victory being made official.

Under the idiosyncratic US national election system, the winner of the presidential election is reliably projected by media organisations in the days following the vote, but official tallies are not determined until weeks later.

At that point, state officials can certify those results, allowing a state to select their electors, who, with minor exceptions, pledge or are required by state law to vote for the candidate who received the most votes in their state. Those electors vote on December 14. The results are approved by Congress on January 6.

In Michigan, all eyes will be on the two Republican members of the four-member Board of State Canvassers on Monday, as they meet to vote on the certification of Biden’s about 154,000-vote victory over Trump and ensure the state’s 16 Electoral votes.

One Republican member, Norman Shinkle, told The Washington Post last week he was moving towards seeking a delay of the certification, citing Trump’s unfounded allegations of voting irregularities.

On Friday, Trump also hosted a group of Republican state legislators from Michigan at the White House, as he and his allies have increasingly pushed a dubious and largely disputed legal theory that argues Republican state legislatures can appoint their own pro-Trump electors, regardless of state results.

While the outcome of the meeting has not been revealed, state Republicans leaders maintained afterwards they would “follow the normal process” and honour their state’s results.

Pennsylvania will also meet to vote on certifying their official votes on Monday, after a Trump lawsuit that sought to halt the process was dismissed, and excoriated, by a federal judge on Saturday.

The president filed an appeal on Sunday in the state, where Biden leads Trump by more than 80,000 votes. Pennsylvania has 20 Electoral votes.

A similar lawsuit in Nevada, where officials are set to meet on Monday to certify Biden leads of about 33,000 votes, was also dismissed by a state judge on Friday.

The Trump campaign is also forging ahead with its long-shot recount requests.

In Wisconsin, where the Trump campaign paid $3m for recounts in the state’s two biggest and most liberal counties, Milwaukee and Dane, election officials have accused Trump observers of intentionally delaying the tally by frivolously contesting ballots.

Under state law, the recount must be completed by December 1. With little chance of Trump overturning the 20,000-vote Biden margin of victory, observers believe his team is attempting to stack up as many individual challenges to ballots as possible as grounds for yet another legal challenge.

In Georgia, where state election officials conducted an audit, and full hand recount, of the about five million ballots cast, the Trump campaign on Saturday requested another recount.

The new tally, which will be paid for by state taxpayers per local law, will be conducted using tabulating machines, and is expected to be faster than the weeklong hand recount.

Source: Al Jazeera