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PHOTOS: Inside US Capitol as riots raged outside

Source: PTI
January 07, 2021 10:17 IST
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The US Congress could certify just 12 Electoral College votes on Wednesday before pro-Trump rioters stormed the US Capitol, interrupting a joint session of Congress where lawmakers were set to certify President-elect Joe Biden's win.

IMAGE: Sniffer dogs were called to the Senate door after supporters of President Donald Trump breeched security at the US Capitol, rioting through the Senate and House and disrupting the certification of President-elect Joe Biden, in Washington, USA, January 6, 2021. Photograph: Mike Theiler / Reuters.

The process of certifying the electoral votes works alphabetically, with lawmakers starting with Alabama and then working through the states in alphabetical order.

 

Congress had certified just two states -- Alabama's nine Electoral College votes and Alaska's three -- before the riots broke out. All 12 of those votes went to incumbent President Donald Trump.

There are 538 electoral votes in total, one for each congressperson and senator plus three for Washington, DC.

IMAGE: Kindly note that this image has been posted for representational purposes only. Photograph: Mike Theiler / Reuters.

The election certification is usually a routine and ceremonial function that is the final step after the Electoral College officially elected Biden on December 14, but the certification was contested by a few Republican members of Congress.

In the November 3 presidential election, Biden, a Democrat won 306 Electoral College votes while Trump, a Republican, mustered only 232 votes.

IMAGE: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) returns to the Senate in the aftermath of supporters of President Donald Trump breaching security at the US Capitol. Photograph: Mike Theiler / Reuters.

Lawmakers were in the process of discussing Arizona's 11 Electoral College votes when the riots broke out. Several Republican lawmakers had objected to the votes, which were for Biden, prompting both the House and Senate to retire to their chambers to debate the objection.

After the riots broke out, Congress went into recess. It is not clear when they could reconvene to continue the certification process.

IMAGE: House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md) addresses Congress as they reconvene in the House chamber to debate Arizona's certification of electoral college votes at the US Capitol in Washington, USA, January 6, 2021. Photograph: Amanda Voisard / Pool via Reuters.

There are no clear answers yet on when the joint session will resume to certify President-elect Biden's win, CNN reported.

However, Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi has asserted that the lawmakers would return for the joint session of the Congress on Wednesday night once it is cleared by the security for use.

"Today, a shameful assault was made on our democracy. It was anointed at the highest level of government. It cannot, however, deter us from our responsibility to validate the election of Joe Biden," Pelosi said in a dear colleague letter.

IMAGE: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks as the House of Representatives reconvenes to continue the process of certifying the 2020 Electoral College results, after rioters supporting President Donald Trump breached the US Capitol in Washington, USA, January 6, 2020. Photograph: Erin Schaff / Pool via Reuters.

"To that end, in consultation with Leader Hoyer and Whip Clyburn and after calls to the Pentagon, the Justice Department and the Vice President, we have decided we should proceed tonight at the Capitol once it is cleared for use. Leader Hoyer will be sending out more guidance later today," she said.

"We always knew this responsibility would take us into the night. The night may still be long but we are hopeful for a shorter agenda, but our purpose will be accomplished,” Pelosi said.

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