Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

President-elect Joe Biden. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Tomorrow, state electors who'll finally cast their Electoral College votes formalizing Joe Biden's win, will gather in person at state capitols across the U.S., even during a pandemic.

Between the lines: Capitol compounds already provide security. But fear of unrest is heightening precautions. Meanwhile, states including California, Wisconsin, Maryland and New Mexico are live-streaming meetings so the public can watch safely from home.

  • "There are always logistical challenges" but "the pandemic is adding an extra layer this year," a National Archives official involved in discussions with states tells Axios.
  • The official said that because federal statute requires electors to sign the certificates of the votes, a completely remote ceremony would be logistically difficult.

How it works: While federal statute establishes the voting date, states can decide what time to hold their meetings of electors. The more populous states typically take longer to complete their ceremonies.

  • Electors vote twice — once for president and a second time for vice president —according to the National Archives.
  • The votes are recorded on six certificates, which are paired with the state's certification of election results. Every elector must verify and sign the sets of electoral votes.
  • Votes are sent by mail — some states require it to be through the U.S. Postal Service — to the National Archives and the Vice President.

Between the lines: To prevent Monday turning into a multistate superspreader event, states are requiring masks and enforcing social distancing. Texas officials said temperatures will be taken at the door at their gathering.

  • Peter Bartz-Gallagher, a spokesperson for the Minnesota secretary of state, tells Axios there will be "less ceremonial activity" this year. While in past years, many guests and observers were welcomed, in-person "attendance is limited this year to the electors and essential staff, with just a few spaces for members of the public."

One big question: How much impact could "faithless electors" have?

  • While 33 states and D.C. have laws forbidding electors from voting for someone other than the winner of their state's elections, few have penalties for doing so.
  • There have been "faithless electors" in the past, but they have never come anywhere close to impacting the election.
  • Experts think it's unlikely that there will be faithless electors this year because of the extra care taken by political parties to ensure their chosen electors will be loyal — lessons learned from 2016.
  • "We might see some Trump electors casting faithless votes as some sort of protest, but that wouldn't impact the outcome," election law expert Michael Morley tells Axios.

What we're watching: Edward Foley, an election law professor at The Ohio State University noted law enforcement’s concern about the possibility of unrest caused by Trump supporters around state capitols.

  • For Monday's Electoral College meeting to become politicized would be "unusual in terms of the sweep of American history," Foley said.

Go deeper

Jan 7, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Congress certifies Joe Biden's Electoral College win

The House reconvenes Wednesday night for the joint session after pro-Trump mobs stormed the Capitol. Photo: Saul Loeb - Pool/Getty Images

A joint session of Congress ended a day of siege by officially certifying on Thursday President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College win in the November election, the final step ahead of his Jan. 20 inauguration.

The bottom line: The final votes in Congress confirm that Biden will be the 46th president of the United States—despite some Republican lawmakers' challenges and the rampage through the Capitol by supporters of President Trump.

24 mins ago - Health

CDC updates guidance on airborne COVID-19

A patron eats lunch in March at Philippe The Original near downtown Los Angeles. Photo: Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The CDC acknowledged Friday that airborne spread of COVID-19 among people more than 6 feet apart "has been repeatedly documented."

Why it matters: This is "a change from the agency’s previous position that most infections were acquired through 'close contact, not airborne transmission,'" the N.Y. Times reports.

11 hours ago - World

Over 170 Palestinians injured in clashes with Israeli police in Jerusalem

An injured man is carried away as Israeli security forces clash with Palestinian protesters at the al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem. Photo: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP via Getty Images

At least 178 Palestinians have been injured in clashes with Israeli police in Jerusalem, Reuters reported late Friday.

The big picture: The clashes come amid growing anger over the threatened eviction of Palestinians from their homes on land claimed by Jewish settlers in East Jerusalem. Tensions have also escalated in the occupied West Bank in recent weeks.