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New York's Electoral College meets in person to elect Biden, Harris

Governor Andrew Cuomo's office
Bill and Hillary Clinton, members of New York’s Electoral College, cast their votes for president and vice president.";

Former President Bill Clinton and former first lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were among the members of New York’s Electoral College who met in person at the State Capitol on Monday to cast the unanimous vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris for president and vice president.

The 29 electors and a few key staff met in the Capitol’s Assembly Chamber, the largest gathering space in the building, with a capacity to hold over 1,000 people. Plexiglas barriers separated Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who led the proceedings, from other electors, including the Clintons, Attorney General Tish James and Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.

The legislative leaders, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, formally announced the unanimous votes for Biden and Harris.

Cuomo previously said that the electors needed to meet in person, and not remotely, to prevent President Donald Trump, the losing candidate, from taking court action to try to invalidate New York’s election results. The president has already filed numerous unsuccessful lawsuits over the November elections.

Cuomo commented on the strangeness of the shortened proceedings.

“This pandemic, these masks, this physical configuration are a stark reminder to the nation that government matters and leadership matters,” Cuomo said. “And good government can not only improve people’s lives but can literally save people’s lives.”

Not among the electors: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who briefly ran in the Democratic presidential primary against Biden before dropping out of the race.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.