Fact Check: Is the Election Over Now That the Electoral College Has Voted?

The Electoral College voted to affirm Joe Biden as the U.S. president-elect on Monday following an election season filled with legal challenges, protests and a notable lack of concession from the person currently occupying the Oval Office.

Major media networks called the presidential race for Biden on November 7 as the results filtering in from election officials across the country suggested he would secure at least 270 electoral votes, the amount needed to win the election.

On Monday, the country's 538 electors cast 306 votes for Biden and 232 for Trump, paving the way for Congress to certify the votes in early January.

Even as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other allies of President Donald Trump began to recognize Biden as the next president, Trump's refusal to concede left questions regarding when the election would officially be over.

The Question

The Electoral College is seen as the decider in presidential elections. This is because the framers of the U.S. Constitution instructed electors to choose which candidate to cast their votes for based on who won the majority of the votes in their state.

Only two states, Maine and Nebraska, break from the winner-take-all system when deciding how to award their electoral votes. This means that a presidential candidate who receives a majority of the nation's votes does not necessarily win the presidency if they do not receive at least 270 electoral votes.

According to the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, only five presidents won an election in which they received a greater number of electoral votes than their competitors but did not win the popular vote.

One of those elections occurred 20 years ago when former President George W. Bush defeated Democrat Al Gore in the Electoral College, and the most recent was in 2016, when former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton captured the popular vote but lost the electoral vote to Trump.

A candidate cannot win the presidency without winning the Electoral College majority. With that in mind, it would seem that Monday's vote brought the 2020 election to an end, with Biden the winner.

So is the race finally, officially over?

President-elect Joe Biden
President-elect Joe Biden speaks about the Electoral College vote certification process at The Queen theater on December 14, 2020, in Wilmington, Delaware. On Monday, presidential electors of the Electoral College gathered in state capitals across the nation to cast their ballots for president and vice president. Their ballots will be formally counted during a joint session of Congress on January 6, 2021. Drew Angerer/Getty

The Facts

Following the Electoral College's decision Monday, Congress is set to convene on January 6 to certify the electors' votes ahead of Biden's inauguration on January 20. It is during that congressional session that Republicans who have thus far supported Trump and his campaign's efforts to dispute the election results could make one last attempt to change the election's outcome.

If congressional legislators decide to go this route, one member from each chamber must co-sign a written objection to a state's election results and bring that objection to Vice President Mike Pence in his role as the president of the Senate. The Senate and House would then each debate the dispute over a time period lasting no more than two hours. Both chambers would at the conclusion of that debate have to agree to reject the votes of the state in question in order for the objection to be successful.

One such objection was debated in 2005 regarding Ohio's electoral votes, according to the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. The objection failed when the two chambers did not agree to reject the votes.

Despite the Ohio electors incident of 2005, it is not common for objections to make it through to the debate stage during the congressional certification of the Electoral College's votes. Even so, some Trump allies in the House already are planning to object to the elector votes cast in five states, according to The New York Times. Those efforts don't yet have the necessary support of a Republican senator in order to move forward, the Times reported.

The Answer

Officially, no.

Congressional legislators can object to states' Electoral College votes on January 6, but it is unlikely that any such attempts would succeed. Congress' certification of the Electoral College votes will provide the official conclusion to the 2020 presidential election.

Newsweek reached out to Trump's campaign for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.