US Congress certifies Trump presidential election

Washington: The US Congress certified Friday that Donald Trump won the November election to become the nation’s 45th president, as lawmakers counted and affirmed the votes by the Electoral College.

“Donald Trump of New York has received, for president of the United States, 304 votes,” while his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton received 227 votes, Vice President Joe Biden declared to assembled lawmakers after the counting was complete.

Biden said the official count “shall be deemed sufficient declaration” for Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence to take their oaths of office on January 20.

“The Electoral College results are in. Donald J. Trump will be the 45th president of the United States,” House Speaker Paul Ryan announced in a tweet shortly afterward.

The count is normally a rubber-stamp event weeks after the electors formally cast their votes. But it was not without drama, as at least three protesters interrupted Biden’s tally announcements before being removed from the chamber.

One of them shouted “one person, one vote” from the visitor’s gallery, an apparent reference to the US election system in which citizens vote indirectly for their choice for president through the Electoral College.

When US voters cast ballots on November 8, they did not directly elect the president but rather 538 electors charged with translating voters’ wishes into reality.

Trump won a clear majority of those electors: 306. Two Republican electors bucked their state tally and voted for someone other than Trump, although the result was not in doubt.

House Democrats interrupted the count multiple times, objecting to electoral vote tallies in different states for several reasons, including “massive voter suppression” and election-related cyber attacks.

Such objections are required by House rules to be made in writing, signed by a House member and a Senate member.

Biden, banging the gavel and calling for order, asked each interrupting lawmaker whether the objections were signed by a senator.

When one congresswoman said her objection had “not yet” been signed by a senator, Biden stood firm.

“Well, it is over,” the vice president said, to loud cheers and applause from Republican lawmakers.