Rhode Island officially cast its four Electoral College votes for President-elect Joe Biden on Monday.
The votes were cast at the Rhode Island State House by Elizabeth Jane Beretta-Perik, treasurer of the state Democratic Party; Central Falls Mayor James Diossa; Providence City Council President Sabina Matos; and Joseph Paolino Jr., a former Providence mayor and former U.S. Ambassador to Malta.
Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, a Democrat, presided over the nearly hourlong ceremony in the state House of Representatives chambers, which was closed to the public because of the pandemic.
Gov. Gina Raimondo, also a Democrat, offered brief remarks remotely from a car outside the state House as she’s in quarantine. The directors of the state health department and state department of administration have tested positive for COVID-19.
Raimondo’s office noted later that state law requires the governor be present at the state House for the Electoral College vote.
The office said the governor, who has a home nearby on Providence’s East Side, was driven by a member of her State Police detail who contracted and has since recovered from COVID-19.
The office added that the two still wore masks while in the vehicle, and the trooper stepped outside while the governor was speaking.
The state Democratic Party picked this year’s electors because Biden, a Democrat, won November’s election with 59.4% of the vote in Rhode Island.
Rhode Island has four electoral votes because each state gets two votes for its two U.S. senators, and an additional vote for each member it has in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The presidential election is a two-step process in the U.S.
Voters nationwide cast their ballots in November. The candidates receiving the most votes generally win that state’s electoral votes and receive that number of electors in the Electoral College.
Electors from each state then gather in December to officially vote for president and vice president. The candidates who receive a majority of the 538 votes in the Electoral College win.