Illinois casts all 20 electoral votes for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris; Mayor Lori Lightfoot wielded gavel as electors cast ballots

Secretary of State Jesse White, who officially oversees the quadrennial session, passed the gavel to Mayor Lori Lightfoot, an elector.

SHARE Illinois casts all 20 electoral votes for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris; Mayor Lori Lightfoot wielded gavel as electors cast ballots
Mayor Lori Lightfoot, an Illinois electoral college member, holds up her ballots for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on Monday. The electors met in the Illinois House chamber in Springfield.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot, an Illinois electoral college member, files her ballots for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on Monday. The electors met in the Illinois House chamber in Springfield.

Screenshot from livestream

WASHINGTON — The Illinois Electoral College members, meeting Monday in the Illinois House Chamber in Springfield, cast all 20 votes for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

Secretary of State Jesse White, who officially oversees the quadrennial session, passed the gavel to Mayor Lori Lightfoot, an elector, who presided.

There was no suspense to the outcome — all 20 electors are Democratic Party faithfuls.

Still there was a certain sense of solemn occasion that came through the livestream given two historic events happening at the same time:

Kamala Harris becomes the first female vice president and the first person of color to occupy that office.

President Donald Trump is continuing to try to overturn the election of Biden. His prospects all but vanish once the Biden/Harris victory is cemented after the Electoral College members cast their ballots across the nation Monday.

The electors were masked and spaced apart in the House chamber as they cast ballots for Biden, a former vice president, and Harris, a California senator.

When casting her vote for Biden and Harris, Lightfoot, wearing a Chicago flag face mask, called Harris “our sister, my friend.”

After the votes were tallied, each elector signed six copies of certificates attesting to their presidential and vice presidential vote to be sent to Washington – including the Senate and National Archives and Records Administration.

Those votes are counted in a joint session of Congress on Jan. 6 where some Republican members are expected to try to stall the proceedings to argue baseless objections that the election was stolen from Trump.

Lightfoot, in announcing the results said, “The election is affirmed, and it is now time for us as a country to move forward, transition in full and embrace the promise of a new administration led by President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. Their success is our success.”

Electors for each state are based on the size of the congressional delegation. Illinois has 18 congressional members and two senators; that’s how the number is set at 20.

Illinois Democrats met and selected the electors earlier this year at a party meeting.

Lightfoot and Senate President Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, were at-large electors.

The other electors come from each congressional district. Here’s the who’s who from the Chicago area:

Ald. Michelle Harris (8th); former state Rep. Al Riley, D-Olympia Fields; Ald. Silvana Tabares (23rd); state Sen. Omar Aquino, D-Chicago; Cynthia Santos, ex-member, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District; and Nancy Shepherdson, a member of the state party central committee.

Also, Vera Davis, the wife of Rep. Danny Davis, D-Ill., and a leader of the West Side NAACP Branch; Michael Cudzik, chair of the Schaumburg Area Democrats political action committee; Michael Cabonargi, member Cook County Board of Review; former state Rep. Lauren Beth Gash, chair of the Lake County Democrats; Julia Kennedy Beckman, of Darien, a District 99 school board member; and Kristina Zahorik, chair of the McHenry County Democrats and chair of the Illinois Democratic County Chairs Association.

In addition to Shepherdson, Harris, Riley, Tabares, Santos, Cudzik, Cabonargi, Gash, Beckman and Zahorik are Democratic Party of Illinois state central committee members as is Rep. Davis.

Vera Davis, when voting, noted she was supporting her Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority sister.

Shepherdson, summing up the vexing Trump era coming to an end, said as she put her ballots in a wood box in the well of the House chamber, “I am so relieved to be casting my vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.”

A president needs 270 electoral votes to win. After the electors vote, given the time difference Hawaii likely to be last, Biden is expected to have 306 electoral votes to 232 for Trump.

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