Joe Biden

dpa/GNA – The final certification of the US presidential election – normally a procedural affair, but this year threatening to turn into a partisan blowout thanks to supporters who refuse to believe President Donald Trump lost – is set for later Wednesday.

Several dozen of Trump’s Republican allies in Congress have said they will challenge the results when a joint session of Congress gathers to count and confirm Electoral College votes from each US state, a usually routine step in confirming which candidate won the presidential election.

President-elect Joe Biden, a Democrat, won both the popular vote and the necessary number of Electoral College votes to be declared the winner of the November presidential election.

But Republican senators Josh Hawley of Missouri and Ted Cruz of Texas are expected to call for an audit to investigate unfounded allegations of voter fraud.

Congress will almost certainly confirm Biden’s win, because a majority of lawmakers oppose the audit, but the challenges could cause a delay in the process as lawmakers can spend up to two hours debating each challenge.

The process has thrust Vice President Mike Pence, whose role is largely ceremonial and involves reading out the vote results, into the spotlight and set up a potential break with Trump.

Pence has been under pressure from Trump to declare the sitting president the winner of the election, a move that could be illegal.

“I hope Mike Pence comes through for us,” Trump told supporters at a rally on Monday. “Of course, if he doesn’t come through, I won’t like him quite as much.”

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