The process began at 1 p.m., when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell convened a joint session of the House and Senate to certify the states' Electoral College results and affirm Joe Biden's status as victor of the Nov. 3 vote.
In recent years, this took all of 20 to 40 minutes.
But this time around, it took more than 14 hours to get to the result: Biden 306, Trump 232.
The differences were twofold: For one, lawmakers had to allow for challenges to some states' electoral tallies. Urged on by President Donald Trump's weeklong effort to discredit the election as a result of massive election fraud, many Republican senators and congressmen were disputing Biden's win in multiple battleground states. Each time an objection had the support of at least one senator and one representative, the two chambers had to break into separate sessions for two hours of debate and voting.
This happened with the results of Pennsylvania and Arizona. Both objections failed.
The bigger delay, though, was the hourslong melee at the Capitol, with demonstrators rushing past armed police and storming the building, occupying and vandalizing it and forcing lawmakers' evacuation.
Many lawmakers said the invaders had been egged on by Trump, who rallied with them earlier and reemphasized his claims of voter fraud while urging a march to the Capitol during the historic electoral session.
The day turned violent, necessitated the assistance of multiple law enforcement agencies and the National Guard, and resulted in at least four deaths, one attributed to a gunshot wound.
But when order was eventually restored, lawmakers insisted on a return to the day's business as a show of resolute resistance to violence. That day's business ultimately turned to a night's business, and then an early morning's business, but those lawmakers were intent on finishing what they started.
A few Republicans shifted their stance on electoral objections in the wake of the unprecedented disruption. It ultimately didn't impact the outcome, though, since enough Republicans and Dems favored certification to dim the chances of any meaningful Electoral College reversal.
And so around 3:30 a.m. ET, the final Electoral College reports were certified.
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