Most people are aware that Election Day in the United States is always the first Tuesday in November. They may be less aware of many of the following important dates and deadlines.
The constitution provides for multi-step procedures that must be followed over a period of 10 weeks after Election Day before the winner takes the presidency.
This year, as Democrats and Republicans alike prepare for potential legal battles after November 3, those dates are gaining added significance.
Much remains unknown about what might happen after the election, so new dates and deadlines may appear.
But until then, this is the timeline to follow between the election and the inauguration:
- November 3: Election Day. This is the day millions of Americans go to the polls in their local constituencies. But due to the coronavirus pandemic, millions of others will already cast their votes by mail. The percentage of votes cast by mail varies by state; Many countries have responded to the Coronavirus by facilitating mail-order voting, while some have not. Technically speaking, voters cast their ballots not for their presidential choice, but for A. List of voters Who pledged to support one of the candidates in a subsequent vote.
- Late November / early December. This is the period – dates vary by state – when states certify elections. Ballot or litigation disputes might mean states will miss ratification dates, but that won’t lead to penalties in the presidential race.
- December 8 “safe haven” deadline: Most states want to nominate their electors by this date, and if they are, then Congress cannot challenge them.
- December 14th. This is the date when voters are required to meet in their states and cast their votes for president. Failure to meet this deadline may mean that state voters will not count toward the presidential tally. Also, each governor must certify his state’s presidential election and voter list by this date.
- December 23. This is the deadline for states to submit their votes to Congress.
- January 3 The new Congress is sworn in on this day.
- January 6 This is the date that Congress counts the electoral votes. Usually, this action testifies to a winner. However, if none of the candidates wins the majority of the electorate, this means that the House of Representatives will vote to decide who will win the presidency. Currently, the Democrats have a 232-197 advantage in the House of Representatives and are expected to be the majority party after the election, but if it is up to the House to determine the presidency, it will be done through a state congressional delegation – and Republicans currently have a 26-23 advantage via Mandate with division of one state (Pennsylvania). This may change after Election Day because many states are considered neglect.
- January 20: This afternoon, a new term begins. If Congress does not ratify the presidential winner yet, federal law states that the Speaker of the House (currently Nancy Pelosi, Democrat from California) will act as the acting president.
Again, there could be a number of developments that could upset the timeline. Among these factors that have received attention is the possibility that the country will present competing lists of voters to Congress – this may happen in a country where there is a close race and the governor and legislature represent different parties.
This happened on The 1876 electionsWhen Democrat Samuel Tilden and Republican Rutherford B. Hayes enough electoral votes to claim victory. In three states representing 19 electoral votes, both sides declared victory. With no mechanism in place to solve the problem, the parties struck a political deal: Democrats gave these electoral votes, and the Presidency, to Hays (though he received 260,000 fewer votes than Tilden) in exchange for ending federal Reconstruction policies in the South. This paved the way for the Southern enactment of Jim Crow Laws.
In 1887, Congress passed The electoral screening law To address the procedures to be followed if this happens again. This law was never used and was widely criticized for being unclear. In one interpretation, Congress was calculating the electoral list supported by the state governor; In another case, electoral votes in the countries in conflict will not be counted at all. Its potential impact is unknown.
In most election seasons, Election Day signals the end of a long period. This year, however, may only be the beginning.