Wisconsin became the last of six states to officially declare victory for Joe Biden late on Monday, in spite of the legal challenges posed by President Donald Trump to stop the certification of results.
Mr Biden’s victory in Wisconsin was certified following a partial recount that only added to his 20,600-vote margin over Mr. Trump, who has promised to file another lawsuit seeking to undo the results.
The finalised vote count in the key battleground states strengthen the president-elect’s majority in the electoral college, taking him up to 306 votes and far beyond the 270 required for victory. The electoral college will meet to formally declare a winner of the election on 14 December.
Governor Tony Evers, a Democrat, signed the certificate that completed the process in Wisconsin after recount results were approved by the chairwoman of the bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission.
Evers’ signature was required by law and is typically a procedural step that receives little attention – but with Mr Trump still refusing to concede defeat weeks after Mr Biden was projected as the winner, this is no typical US election.
“Today I carried out my duty to certify the 3 November election,” Mr Evers said in a statement. “I want to thank our clerks, election administrators, and poll workers across our state for working tirelessly to ensure we had a safe, fair, and efficient election. Thank you for all your good work.”
The action on Monday started a five-day deadline for President Trump to file a lawsuit, which he promised would come no later than Tuesday. Mr Trump’s attempts to overturn the results rely on the disqualification of as many as 238,000 ballots. His attorneys have alleged without evidence that there was widespread fraud and illegal activity.
Mr Biden’s campaign, meanwhile, said the recount showed that he won Wisconsin decisively and there was no fraud.
Even if Mr Trump were successful in Wisconsin, the state’s 10 electoral college votes would not be enough to undo Mr Biden’s overall victory, as states around the country certify their own results.
Earlier on Monday, Arizona officials also certified Mr Biden’s narrow victory in that state.
Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and Republican Governor Doug Ducey both vouched for the integrity of the election before signing off on the results.
“We do elections well here in Arizona. The system is strong,” Mr Ducey said.
He did not directly address Mr Trump’s claims of irregularities but said the state pulled off a successful election with a mix of in-person and mail voting despite the pandemic.
Mr Hobbs said Arizona voters should know that the election “was conducted with transparency, accuracy and fairness in accordance with Arizona’s laws and election procedures, despite numerous unfounded claims to the contrary”.
Mr Biden is only the second Democrat in 70 years to win Arizona. In the final tally, he beat Donald Trump by 10,457 votes, or 0.3 per cent of the nearly 3.4 million ballots cast.
Even as Arizona officials certified the election results, Trump lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis met in a Phoenix hotel ballroom a few miles away to make claims of irregularities in the vote count there and elsewhere. They again did not provide evidence of widespread fraud.
“The officials certifying have made no effort to find out the truth, which to me, gives the state Legislature the perfect reason to take over the conduct of this election because it’s being conducted irresponsibly and unfairly,” Mr Giuliani said.
Nine Republican state lawmakers attended the meeting. They had requested permission to hold a formal legislative hearing at the Capitol but were denied by the Republican House speaker and Senate president.
Mr Trump berated Mr Ducey on Twitter on Monday night, asking: “Why is he rushing to put a Democrat in office, especially when so many horrible things concerning voter fraud are being revealed at the hearing going on right now.”
Elections challenges brought by the Trump campaign or his backers in key battleground states have largely been unsuccessful.
Election officials from both political parties have stated publicly that the election went well and international observers confirmed there were no serious irregularities.
Meanwhile, Mr Biden team has moved ahead with the transition process and announced several key members of his future cabinet.