Joe Biden should act now to repair democracy before 2024 elections

James K. Glassman and Nicholas W. Allard, Opinion contributors
Published 6:01 a.m. ET Dec. 4, 2020

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A Georgia election official called on President Trump to condemn and “stop inspiring” recent threats of violence over the election.

USA TODAY

Democracy can’t afford 2024 to be the debacle that 2020 almost was. Biden can name a commission now and aim for bipartisan approval of a report by 2022.

America lucked out. The 2020 election had all the ingredients for disaster: A president who called it rigged before a single vote was cast, a pandemic that produced an unprecedented mail-in response and attempts at inference by Russia and other adversaries.

Democracy can’t afford 2024 to be the debacle that 2020 almost was.

To repair the voting process that is the beating heart of a democracy, the Biden administration needs to create a bipartisan commission to address two principal problems.

The first is the sanctity of the vote itself and the right of every adult citizen to participate. 

The mechanics of the most recent election failed to convince a large fraction of the populace that votes were fairly cast and counted. We were amazed and encouraged that such a rickety, balkanized system displayed no material evidence of fraud.

An election worker handles ballots as vote counting in the general election continues at State Farm Arena on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020, in Atlanta. (Photo: Brynn Anderson, AP)

Yet, the methods of counting and recounting are far from transparent. Nor is there much rigor in the timing or the tallying of votes at the state and local level. 

A commission should determine what steps to take at the state and federal levels to ensure the right to register and vote easily anywhere; the right to have all votes definitively counted and, where necessary, recounted; and a guarantee that national and state totals are announced in an authoritative non-partisan way in an expedited manner.

Make better use of technology

Many of the answers undoubtedly lie in better use of technology. Individual tax returns are highly confidential and personal documents, yet 89% of Americans file them electronically from home or office. A federal statute 20 years ago made electronic signatures legally valid.

So why can’t the country with the best technology brains in the world find more efficient methods of voting than lining up for hours or sticking something in the mail and hoping it gets there in time? Or better methods of counting than a process that takes several weeks?

And how can this more efficient process be secure, trusted and independent of interference by foreign governments or candidates themselves? 

The second challenge for the commission is the Electoral College. In four elections out of six in this century, the winner of the national popular vote has lost or nearly lost the Electoral College. 

This year, Joe Biden won three swing states — Wisconsin, Georgia and Arizona  — by less than three-quarters of a percentage point. If Donald Trump had changed the minds of  just 22,000

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Biden Thinks Rural Americans ‘Feel Forgotten,’ Plans to ‘Fight Like Hell’ to Rebuild U.S. Industry, Education

With his inauguration less than two months away, President-elect Joe Biden is offering greater insight into his incoming administration’s top priorities.

He discussed a wide range of policy initiatives during a recent interview with New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, focusing on international relations as well as revitalized domestic infrastructure. Responding to inquiries about his plans for trade deals with China—a topic generating significant public interest right now, in light of tariffs imposed earlier this year under Donald Trump—Biden said he intends to strengthen U.S. industries and education systems in efforts to better address global commerce issues.

“I want to make sure we’re going to fight like hell by investing in America first,” he said in comments to the Times, citing artificial intelligence, biotechnology and energy as examples of industries that could benefit from federal resources supporting research and development. Biden told the newspaper that he will not “enter any new trade agreement with anybody” before investing in industrial and education policies “here at home.”

Biden additionally acknowledged his intentions to reach rural Americans after assuming office next year. Exit polling data confirmed Biden’s support among voters in U.S. cities and metropolitan suburbs, although Trump secured much of the rural vote, as he did in 2016.

“You know, it really does go to the issue of dignity, how you treat people,” Biden told the Times of Americans living in rural parts of the country. Continuing, he added, “I think they just feel forgotten. I think we forgot them.”

Biden said he aims to gain trust and support among the rural populace by identifying and fulfilling its needs. His approach includes policies to improve the country’s response to COVID-19 in all regions, whether they are predominantly Republican or Democratic. Biden and Vice President–elect Kamala Harris have regarded the pandemic as one of the most pressing matters affecting the country throughout their election race, and continued to do so in the aftermath of their their projected win.

Biden noted the need for expanded public health initiatives in rural U.S. regions during his recent interview with the Times, saying leaders must “end the rural health care crisis right now” through accessible health care options and increased funding to medical centers. He advocated for wider broadband access, particularly noting the ways in which doing so would improve telehealth procedures in rural areas, and he reiterated his intentions to bolster the Affordable Care Act with a “public option” and “automatically enroll people eligible for Medicaid.”

Joe Biden
President-elect Joe Biden delivers remarks during a Thanksgiving speech in Wilmington, Delaware, on November 25. Biden discussed his plans to rebuild U.S. industries and strengthen education and infrastructure in an interview published Wednesday.
Mark Makela/Getty

“There’s strong support for that,” he said, referencing public backing in more rural U.S. states, such as North Carolina and Texas, despite the states themselves opposing an ACA expansion. “We can boost funding,” Biden continued. “I visited 15 rural hospitals. And the biggest problem is there’s not enough reimbursement for them to be

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Biden won popular, Electoral College votes in several battleground states

President Trump’s legal adviser Rudy Giuliani details lawsuit he says will be filed

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The claim: Trump won the 2020 election based on legal votes



a group of people in a room: An observer watches as Luzerne County workers canvas ballots that arrived after closing of voting until Friday at 5pm and postmarked by Nov. 3rd as vote counting in the general election continues, Friday, Nov. 6, 2020, in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.


© Mary Altaffer, AP
An observer watches as Luzerne County workers canvas ballots that arrived after closing of voting until Friday at 5pm and postmarked by Nov. 3rd as vote counting in the general election continues, Friday, Nov. 6, 2020, in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

A Nov. 17 claim posted to Facebook says President Donald Trump is the true winner of the popular vote in the 2020 election — if “legal” votes are considered.

“I have maintained since election night that Trump is the clear winner, counting the legal votes. But he’s only 23,800 votes away from winning by a squeaker even if you use the crooked vote tallies widely reported by Associated Press,” begins a post on the Facebook page for Clean TV.

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Clean TV is a media site owned by publicity agency Special Guests. The agency specializes in bookings for conservative news and talk shows, according to its website.

The post is a synopsis of an attached video by Jerry McGlothlin of “20 Days to Save the USA.” He is also credited as CEO of Clean TV on a LinkedIn page. “20 Days to Save the USA” is the name of a virtual media/news conference featuring conservative pundits and the religious right, according to its website.

In his video, McGlothlin says Trump won the popular vote in 48 states except California and New York and needs to flip only 23,800 votes from President-elect Joe Biden to win the presidency.

“Those would have to come from Arizona, Wisconsin and Georgia to give a tie of 269 to 269 and with a majority of Republican state delegations, Trump would win the presidency for a second term,” McGothlin said.

Biden leads Trump by over 6 million popular votes.  Six swing states — Nevada, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Arizona, Wisconsin and Georgia — have certified the president-elect as the winner of the popular and Electoral College vote, USA TODAY has reported.

McGlothlin did not respond to a request for comment from USA TODAY.

The claim relies on false allegations of illegal ballot tabulation and software failures that helped Biden edge out Trump in key swing states. Election officials say there was no evidence of fraud in the 2020 election, according to USA TODAY.

Why does the electoral vote matter more than the popular vote?

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Trump could reach 269 Electoral College votes in AZ, WI, GA

The Electoral College vote total for Trump stands at 232 and Biden has 306, according to USA TODAY. The final count was solidified on Nov. 19 when the Associated Press declared Biden the winner in Georgia after a recount. 

The claim suggests Trump can “flip” votes in Arizona, Wisconsin and Georgia to tie Biden in Electoral College votes. “This is only

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Education Secretary Betsy DeVos undid Obama policy. Who’ll Biden pick?

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The President-elect says he wants a government as diverse as America when he enters the White House. Here are some of his Executive Branch picks.

USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — Back in January 2017, Betsy DeVos, then President Donald Trump’s nominee for education secretary, told lawmakers at her confirmation hearing that the threat of grizzly bears in Wyoming justified the national push to equip schools with guns. She was responding to a question from Sen. Chris Murphy, of Connecticut, who’d made gun control a priority after the 2012 massacre of schoolchildren in Sandy Hook. 

DeVos’s gaffe, which garnered a slew of memes and a spoof on “Saturday Night Live,” became a metaphor for her tenure as education secretary. It also contributed to her status as the most unpopular member of Trump’s already-controversial cabinet. DeVos won confirmation by a literal hair, after all, thanks to Vice President Mike Pence’s tie-breaking vote. 

DeVos, a conservative billionaire philanthropist, went on to clinch her unpopularity with her advocacy for school choice. In her view, public education money should follow students to whatever learning model their parents prefer – whether it’s a traditional public school, a charter school, a private school or a home school. 

Overall, however, DeVos didn’t accomplish much of her school-choice agenda. Her hallmark “education freedom” campaign, which sought to create a national private-school voucher program, didn’t come to fruition. Congress repeatedly killed that proposal, which in its latest iteration sought to allocate $5 billion toward tax-credit scholarships for private school.

“If we fast-forward 10 years and look back at this period, we’re not going to see much,” said Dale Chu, a senior visiting fellow at the Fordham Institute, a right-leaning education think tank. 

DeVos did convince Congress to expand 529 plans, enabling the state-sponsored college savings accounts to cover private-school tuition. She got lawmakers to reauthorize a program providing private-school vouchers to students in Washington, D.C., too. 

“She has really tried to make the case that as education secretary her job is to work with schools of all stripes,” said Lindsey Burke, who directs the Center for Education Policy at the Heritage Foundation, a right-leaning think tank. “Public education means education of the public and for the public – not just traditional public education.”

Teachers unions and civil-rights groups, including the NAACP, had a different take. 

“She came into that position with one purpose in mind: to destroy public education,” said Becky Pringle, the president of the National Education Association, noting public schools enroll 90% of the country’s schoolchildren. 

Undoing Obama-era guidance

Where DeVos did gain traction was in her efforts to reverse a suite of policies from President Barack Obama’s administration that she felt had given the federal government an outsize role in education. Many of those policies pertained to civil rights. 

She axed guidelines meant to reduce racial disparities in student discipline rates, for example, arguing they made campuses less safe. She also rescinded regulations requiring schools to provide facilities accommodating transgender students, saying she wanted to reduce federal

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Biden won in several battleground states

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Rudy Giuliani gave details about the lawsuit he plans to file regarding election results in the battleground state of Pennsylvania.

USA TODAY

The claim: Trump won the 2020 election based on legal votes

A Nov. 17 claim posted to Facebook says President Donald Trump is the true winner of the popular vote in the 2020 election — if “legal” votes are considered.

“I have maintained since election night that Trump is the clear winner, counting the legal votes. But he’s only 23,800 votes away from winning by a squeaker even if you use the crooked vote tallies widely reported by Associated Press,” begins a post on the Facebook page for Clean TV.

Clean TV is a media site owned by publicity agency Special Guests. The agency specializes in bookings for conservative news and talk shows, according to its website.

The post is a synopsis of an attached video by Jerry McGlothlin of “20 Days to Save the USA.” He is also credited as CEO of Clean TV on a LinkedIn page. “20 Days to Save the USA” is the name of a virtual media/news conference featuring conservative pundits and the religious right, according to its website.

In his video, McGlothlin says Trump won the popular vote in 48 states except California and New York and needs to flip only 23,800 votes from President-elect Joe Biden to win the presidency.

“Those would have to come from Arizona, Wisconsin and Georgia to give a tie of 269 to 269 and with a majority of Republican state delegations, Trump would win the presidency for a second term,” McGothlin said.

Biden leads Trump by over 6 million popular votes.  Six swing states — Nevada, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Arizona, Wisconsin and Georgia — have certified the president-elect as the winner of the popular and Electoral College vote, USA TODAY has reported.

McGlothlin did not respond to a request for comment from USA TODAY.

The claim relies on false allegations of illegal ballot tabulation and software failures that helped Biden edge out Trump in key swing states. Election officials say there was no evidence of fraud in the 2020 election, according to USA TODAY.

Trump could reach 269 Electoral College votes in AZ, WI, GA

The Electoral College vote total for Trump stands at 232 and Biden has 306, according to USA TODAY. The final count was solidified on Nov. 19 when the Associated Press declared Biden the winner in Georgia after a recount. 

The claim suggests Trump can “flip” votes in Arizona, Wisconsin and Georgia to tie Biden in Electoral College votes. “This is only if Trump’s legal team is able to shift 22,500 votes, but with all the vote fraud, they should be able to do better than this,” it says.

More: Can Electoral College really tie at 269 to 269 ? Yes. It’s not likely but here’s how it works

The post predates the Georgia recount results, which Biden won by 12,670 votes. Biden beat Trump in Arizona by 10,457 votes and in

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Five ways Joe Biden can “de-DeVos” U.S. education

Teachers and other education advocates are feeling giddy at the possibility of moving forward a progressive agenda that the current education secretary, Betsy DeVos, stopped dead in its tracks four years ago. President-elect Joe Biden campaign’s policy director, Stef Feldman, told the Education Writers Association that as president, Biden would “get some big, bold education legislation passed and certainly immediate relief for our schools and our educators,” and said Biden would take executive actions as well. Many of those executive actions, education advocates hope, will de-DeVos the Department of Education.

Here are some of the likeliest ways public education will change in a Biden-Harris administration.

Enforce all students’ civil rights 

Earlier this year, Betsy DeVos announced sweeping revisions to the federal civil rights law Title IX, which prevents discrimination on the basis of sex in federally funded schools. As a result, a judicial-like process is now used to investigate sexual harassment complaints, giving the accused a right to cross-examine accusers in a live hearing. Student advocates have said this would deter survivors from reporting assaults, which were already underreported.

Biden has also vowed to restore Obama-era civil rights guidance letters, which were rescinded by DeVos. Those include allowing transgender students to choose their own restrooms, addressing the disproportionate disciplining of Black students and pressing for diversity in colleges and K-12 classrooms.

“The good news is that Secretary DeVos has been more effective at doing damage to Obama-era policies than at creating anything new,” Kevin Welner, director of the National Education Policy Center, told Capital & Main. “So the first and easiest items on the Biden education checklist should be reissuing — and perhaps even strengthening — Obama-era guidance letters. I call this process ‘de-DeVos-ing.'”

Spending on K-12 will increase

For several years Trump/DeVos proposed major federal spending cuts to education that were rejected by Congress, including zeroing out the budget for after-school programs for needy youth. In a Biden administration, Congress will likely be asked to approve increased education spending.

Biden has promised to triple Title I aid for low-income schools, with requirements for higher teacher pay, and vowed to double the number of psychologists, counselors, nurses and social workers in schools. He has promised to invest in school infrastructure to address health risks and dramatically increase funding for special education. Unlike DeVos, Biden also wants the federal government to fund universal prekindergarten for all 3- and 4-year-old children, make community college debt-free, and double Pell grants for low-income and middle class students.

Paying for college may become easier

For four years in a row, DeVos proposed dismantling the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, which was created in 2007 with bipartisan support. She has also proposed slashing subsidized federal student loans, work-study funding and parent PLUS loans.

In addition to promises to shore up these programs, Biden said he supports canceling $10,000 of debt per student — far less than what rivals for the Democratic nomination had advocated — as well as making community college free, doubling Pell grants and

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Donald Trump says he will leave White House if electoral college votes for Joe Biden | US news

Donald Trump has said that he will leave the White House in January if the electoral college votes for Democratic president-elect Joe Biden, in the closest the outgoing president has come to conceding defeat.

Biden won the presidential election with 306 electoral college votes – many more than the 270 required – to Trump’s 232. Biden also leads Trump by more than 6 million in the popular vote tally.

Trump has so far defied tradition by refusing to concede defeat, instead making a series of baseless claims about alleged ballot fraud and launching legal attempts to challenge the outcomes in several states such Pennsylvania and Michigan.

But desperate efforts by Trump and his aides to overturn results in key states, either by lawsuits or by pressuring state legislators, have failed.

Speaking to reporters on the Thanksgiving holiday, Trump said if Biden – who is due to be sworn in on 20 January – was certified the election winner by the electoral college, he would depart the White House.

Trump’s comments, made to reporters at the White House after speaking to troops during the traditional Thanksgiving Day address to US service members, appear to take him one step nearer to admitting defeat.

Asked if he would leave the White House if the college vote went against him, Trump said: “Certainly I will. And you know that,” adding that: “If they do, they’ve made a mistake.”

Donald Trump arrives for the event on Thursday night.



Donald Trump arrives for the event on Thursday night. Photograph: Erin Scott/Reuters

However, Trump said it would be “a very hard thing to concede” and declined to say whether he would attend Biden’s inauguration, which is due to take place on 20 January.

It was the first time he had taken questions from reporters since election day, and at times he turned combative, calling one reporter a “lightweight” and telling him “don’t talk to me like that”.

Trump’s administration has already given the green light for a formal transition to get underway. But Trump took issue with Biden moving forward.

“I think it’s not right that he’s trying to pick a Cabinet,” Trump said, even though officials from both teams are already working together to get Biden’s team up to speed.

At one point he urged reporters not to allow Biden the credit for pending coronavirus vaccines.

“Don’t let him take credit for the vaccines because the vaccines were me and I pushed people harder than they’ve ever been pushed before,” he said.

As for whether or not he plans to formally declare his candidacy to run again in 2024 – as he has discussed with aides – Trump he didn’t “want to talk about 2024 yet.”

In late-night tweets, Trump complained that the media had not covered his news conference in the way he had wanted, saying the main point he had tried to make was that he won the election. Twitter flagged his comments.

The electoral college is due to meet on 14 December when each state’s nominated electors will cast their votes

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Donald Trump, Joe Biden, political updates

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President Trump acknowledged for the first time that he would leave the White House when the Electoral College casts its formal vote for Joe Biden.

Associated Press

USA TODAY’S coverage of the 2020 election and President-elect Joe Biden’s transition continues this week as states certify their vote counts. President Donald Trump has yet to concede the race but his administration cleared the way this week for Biden’s team to have access to federal resources and briefings during the transition.

Be sure to refresh this page often to get the latest information on the election and the transition.

Trump says he would ‘certainly’ leave White House once Electoral College votes for Biden

President Donald Trump acknowledged for the first time Thursday that he would leave the White House if the Electoral College votes – as it will – to make Democrat Joe Biden the next president, but said it would be “very hard” to concede the contest.

“Certainly I will, and you know that,” Trump told reporters at the White House on Thursday when asked if he would leave the presidency once Biden is formally chosen by the electors.Taking questions from reporters for the first time since he lost the Nov. 3 election to Biden, Trump used the Thanksgiving appearance to level a new round of baseless claims about voting fraud, arguing without evidence that Republicans were “robbed.”

Though he indicated he would continue to fight the outcome in states such as Pennsylvania and Michigan, Trump’s remarks were the first time he recognized the need for a peaceful handover of power. States must certify their votes before the Electoral College meets on Dec. 14 — many already have — and resolve all challenges to the outcome by Dec. 8.

Trump, who appeared as part of an annual holiday tradition of speaking to U.S. troops, said he did not want to say yet whether he would attend Biden’s inauguration.

The president also said he plans to get back on the campaign trail soon to help Republicans running in two critical runoff elections. Trump said he would likely get out to campaign for Georgia Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue on December 5.

“It’s going to be a very hard thing to concede,” Trump told reporters when asked about what he will do if the Electoral College elects Biden.

“If they do, they made a mistake,” Trump said of that outcome.

John Fritze

Bidens thank frontline workers battling COVID pandemic 

President-elect Joe Biden and future first lady Jill Biden said in a message to Americans on Thanksgiving Day that though 2020 has had increased challenges for many across the country and families may not be able to gather as usual, there is still much to be grateful for.

“We’re going to get through this together, even if we have to be apart,” the Bidens wrote in an op-ed published by CNN Thursday.

They acknowledged families who will have an “empty chair” during the holiday because they have lost a loved one

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Trump says for first time he’ll leave office if Electoral College votes for Biden

President Donald Trump said for the first time Thursday he will leave office if the Electoral College votes for President-elect Joe Biden but made clear he’s not prepared to concede.



Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie sitting at a table


© POOL


“Certainly I will, and you know that,” Trump said when asked by a reporter about leaving the White House if Biden is declared the winner on December 14. “I will and, you know that.”

“It’s going to be a very hard thing to concede because we know there was massive fraud,” Trump said without evidence.

“As to whether or not we can get this apparatus moving quickly — because time isn’t on our side, everything else is on our side, facts are on our side, this was a massive fraud.”

The President falsely added that if Biden is declared the winner, the Electoral College, “made a mistake, cause this election was a fraud.” Pressed on his comments, Trump snapped at the reporter. “Don’t talk to me that way. I’m the President of the United States. Don’t ever talk to the president that way,” he said.

Video: Here’s what Giuliani’s former colleagues say about him now (CNN)

Here’s what Giuliani’s former colleagues say about him now

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Thursday was the first time Trump has taken questions from reporters since the election.

Since CNN and other outlets projected Biden as the winner earlier this month, Trump has refused to accept the results, instead pushing baseless conspiracies that his second term is being stolen and launching a legal effort to overturn results.

This includes falsely claiming during an election night address that he had already won reelection, that he had already won states that were actually still up in the air at the time and that his opponents were perpetuating a fraud.

In response, Biden campaign spokesperson Andrew Bates said in a statement earlier this month, “the United States government is perfectly capable of escorting trespassers out of the White House.”

To this point, the Trump campaign’s lawsuits have been repeatedly dismissed or dropped, and earlier this week, the General Services Administration informed Biden that the Trump administration is ready to begin the formal transition process.

The GSA letter marked the first step the administration has taken to acknowledge Trump’s defeat. The President, however, tweeted moments after the letter was reported: “Our case STRONGLY continues, we will keep up the good fight, and I believe we will prevail!”

He echoed that message throughout his rambling news conference Thursday following a Thanksgiving teleconference call with military members — an event US Presidents traditionally use to boost morale of service members stationed abroad during the holidays and remind the country of their service.

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Trump says he’ll leave if Electoral College seats Biden | National politics

As for the Electoral College, Trump made clear that he will likely never formally concede, even if he said he would leave the White House.

“It’s gonna be a very hard thing to concede. Because we know there was massive fraud,” he said, noting that, “time isn’t on our side.”

“If they do,” vote against him, Trump added, “they’ve made a mistake.”

Asked whether he would attend Biden’s inauguration, Trump said he knew the answer but didn’t want to share it yet.

But there were some signs that Trump was coming to terms with his loss.

At one point he urged reporters not to allow Biden the credit for pending coronavirus vaccines. “Don’t let him take credit for the vaccines because the vaccines were me and I pushed people harder than they’ve ever been pushed before,” he said.

As for whether or not he plans to formally declare his candidacy to run again in 2024 — as he has discussed with aides — Trump said he didn’t “want to talk about 2024 yet.”

All states must certify their results before the Electoral College meets on Dec. 14, and any challenge to the results must be resolved by Dec. 8. States have already begun that process, including Michigan, where Trump and his allies tried and failed to delay the process, and Georgia and Pennsylvania.

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