Electoral college confirms Joe Biden's victory in US presidential election

Members of the US electoral college have officially confirmed Joe Biden's presidential election victory, one of the final steps required for him to take office.

The confirmation derails Donald Trump’s unprecedented bid to subvert the will of millions of Americans and overturn the results of the presidential election.

Mr Biden won November's contest with 306 electoral college votes to Republican Donald Trump's 232.

With California’s 55 electoral votes, Biden crossed the 270-vote threshold needed to win the White House, a milestone that moves him one procedural step closer to his inauguration on 20 January.

The president-elect addressed the electoral college vote count in a speech to the nation on Monday night saying: “In this battle for the soul of America, democracy prevailed."

“We the people voted. Faith in our institutions held. The integrity of our elections remains intact. And so, now it is time to turn the page. To unite. To heal.”

“Together, vice-president-elect Harris and I earned 306 electoral votes,” Biden said, speaking from Wilmington, Delaware, noting that he has won by the same margin as Donald Trump in 2016.

Under the US system, voters actually cast their ballots for "electors", who in turn, formally vote for candidates weeks after the election.

Electors almost always vote in line with their pledged candidate, although in 2016 some did not and this prompted states to change their laws to try and prevent a recurrence.

Despite this process, President Trump is not expected to accept the result.

There were multiple threats and the promises of protests outside statehouses where the presidential electors gathered, however officials took extra steps to ensure their safety.

In Michigan, lawmakers closed the Capitol building to the public as electors voted on Monday, citing credible threats of violence. Wisconsin also closed its Capitol building, ushering in electors through a side entrance for their security. Electors in Arizona met at an “undisclosed location” due to threats there.

Electors from all 50 states and the nation’s capital cast their ballots, concluding with Hawaii casting the final votes at 7pm ET to award Biden a total of 306 votes. Biden delivered his remarks shortly thereafter.

The US Constitution only states that electors cannot be members of Congress or others who currently hold federal office. This year, the most famous electors are former President Bill Clinton and 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, chosen for the Democrats in New York.

Election results from November show Biden and his running mate, Kamala Harris, won 306 electoral college votes, exceeding the 270 needed to win, after four unpredictable years under Trump.

Trump said late last month he would leave the White House if the electoral college voted for Biden, but has since continued with his unprecedented campaign to overturn his defeat, filing numerous lawsuits challenging state vote counts. On Monday, he repeated a series of unsupported claims of electoral fraud.

Although his legal team has had little success in challenging the results of the vote in several battleground states, the official recording of the electoral college ballots across the US will effectively lower any claims he has made so far.