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US Election 2020

US Election 2020: when do states certify their election results?

Biden has been named President-elect but Trump continues to contest the result. What is the deadline for states to confirm their Electoral College votes by?

US Election 2020: when do states certify their election results?
Chris Kleponis / POOLEFE

Ten days have now passed since Election Day 2020 and things certainly seem to be taking a bit longer than usual. President-elect Joe Biden’s victory was not called until last Saturday, four days after the polls closed, and there are still two states that have not yet been called for either candidate.

President Trump has refused to concede the election, filing a number of baseless lawsuits in battleground states and demanding recounts where possible. However these tactics will only stave off the inevitable for so long, as there is a strict process to be followed after an American presidential election. The votes cast by individual Americans are counted and certified before each state officially allocates its Electoral College votes.

What are the certification deadlines in each state?

There is no nationwide deadline for the election results to be certified and different states will submit theirs on different dates. Hawaii, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Tennessee do not have a fixed certification deadline written into state law, but here’s when the other states will certify their election results:

November 5 - Delaware

November 10 - Oklahoma, Louisiana, South Dakota, Vermont

November 11 - South Carolina, Wyoming

November 13 - Mississippi

November 16 - Virginia

November 17 - Florida

November 18 – Arkansas, Idaho, Massachusetts

November 20 – Georgia, North Dakota

November 23 – Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Utah

November 24 - District of Columbia, Indiana, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio

November 25 – Alabama, Alaska

November 30 – Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Montana, Nebraska

December 1 – Kansas, Nevada, Wisconsin

December 3 – Connecticut, Oregon, Texas, Washington, West Virginia

December 4 – Illinois

December 7 - New York

December 8 – Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey

December 11 – California

Could states miss this deadlines?

As the certification dates are created by the states themselves there is, in theory, nothing stopping them from missing their own deadlines. If that were to happen they would risk forcing Congress to decide whether a slate of electors in legitimate. This opens up the possibility that Republican-led state Senates could send Trump electors, in spite of how the state actually voted.

However this tactic would be seen as grossly undemocratic and has been roundly dismissed by Republicans, with Georgia Representative Scot Turner stating that the Electoral College vote should reflect the state’s popular vote: “Those who believe in the rule of law do not change the rules in the middle of an election because the outcome is undesirable.”

The Electoral College Votes will be cast and counted on 14 December, which must then be delivered to Vice President Mike Pence, in his capacity as Senate president, by 23 December. When the new Congress is sworn in on 6 January one of their first tasks will be to officially count the vote and Pence will declare the winner. On 20 January 2021, President-elect Joe Biden will be sworn in as the 46th President of the United States


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