Domenico Montanaro

Updated at 11:40 a.m. ET Tuesday

The political world has trained its focus on Georgia's two U.S. Senate races, which will settle the kind of Senate that President-elect Joe Biden will be dealing with.

The races, taking place Tuesday — the day before Biden is slated to be certified by Congress as the winner of the 2020 presidential election — are expected to be close. Consider that Biden won the rapidly changing but previously traditionally Republican state by fewer than 12,000 votes.

Updated at 3:26 p.m. ET

President Trump's done it again.

The man who threatened to cause a ruckus in Washington — and has done so over his four years in office — introduced a new round of disarray Tuesday night.

Trump's pre-Christmas chaos includes:

Updated at 9:52 a.m. ET Wednesday

President-elect Joe Biden warned Tuesday that the coronavirus pandemic will get worse before it gets better.

"Our darkest days in the battle against COVID are ahead of us, not behind us," Biden told reporters during a year-end news conference in Wilmington, Del.

He said that Americans, when united, could overcome the crisis, and he called the first vaccines being administered a good thing. But he noted that distribution of the vaccines is one of the biggest operational challenges the country has ever faced.

Updated 7:00 p.m. ET

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has selected Secretary of State Alex Padilla to replace Vice President-elect Kamala Harris in the U.S. Senate.

Padilla, 47, the son of Mexican immigrants, will be the first Latino from the state to hold the position. California is almost 40% Hispanic, according to the U.S. census.

Updated 10:41 a.m. ET

What a day Monday was.

The Electoral College affirmed what was already known — that Democrat Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election.

Biden officially got the votes of 306 electors, exactly what he was supposed to get based on the popular vote from each state. It was 36 electoral votes more than the 270 needed to become president.

So, it's yet another step showing that Biden is president-elect and that he will be sworn in as president on Jan. 20, 2021.

More Americans voted in 2020 than in any other presidential election in 120 years. About 67% of eligible voters cast ballots this year, but that still means a third did not.

That amounts to about 80 million people who stayed home.

Another official move in America's sometimes-convoluted presidential election process takes place Monday as the electors of the Electoral College cast their votes.

It's one of the final steps in picking a president, but who are these electors and how do they get selected?

It begins and ends with loyalty — loyalty to state and national parties. That in part is how the candidates are all but guaranteed to have the electors' votes match the ballots cast by regular people in general election voting in each state.

Who are they and who picks them?

A solid majority of Americans trust that the results of the 2020 presidential election are accurate, but only about a quarter of Republicans do, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist survey.

Sixty-one percent say they trust the results, including two-thirds of independents, but just 24% of Republican respondents say they accept the results.

While President Trump continues to baselessly allege widespread election fraud, the political world is starting to move on from his presidency.

Updated at 6 p.m. ET

Most Republicans in Congress have been reluctant to suggest that President Trump concede the presidential election to Democrat Joe Biden. They argue that it's best to let Trump expend his legal options before they apply too much pressure.

That pressure has been building and it could be about to go bust this week, with key states certifying the vote totals and making their results official.

Just before midnight on the East Coast on election night, Fox News called Arizona for Democrat Joe Biden.

It was a bold call. It opened up a wider path for Biden to win the presidency after a night that began with a lot of bad news for the former vice president. Florida had been called for President Trump, and other states went for the president by wider margins than expected.

There was a debate in the runup to this year's presidential election about whether it would be a base election or a persuasion one. In other words, what would matter more for a candidate — turning out one side's core voters, or winning over undecideds and wavering supporters of President Trump?

Based on an NPR analysis of the more than 3,000 counties, it was, in fact, mostly a base election with some key persuasion in Democratic-leaning suburbs that went for Joe Biden by wider margins than they did for Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Democrat Joe Biden was declared the winner of the 2020 presidential election Saturday morning.

And yet, President Trump has not conceded or accepted it, and the agency responsible for doling out funds and office space during a transition is denying that money to the Biden team, implying that the results of the election are not yet certain and referencing the "precedent" of the contested 2000 presidential election.

Republicans outperformed the polls up and down the ballot in the 2020 election, to the surprise even of many Republican political operatives and survey researchers.

To be clear, Democrat Joe Biden defeated President Trump; Democrats will still control the House and still have a chance of picking up the Senate.

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