GTFS: The Electoral College

How America’s president is chosen

by Jharna Kamath, Assistant Editor

Although citizens voted on Nov. 3 and even earlier, and trusted sources have called the election for President-elect Joe Biden, results will not be official until the electoral college casts their votes. Even though the electoral college has existed throughout American history, there is often confusion on how it operates. Here is a timeline on what to expect from the electoral college over this month.


December 8: Safe Harbor Deadline

In order to prevent Congress intervening in a state’s election, the state must certify their results by this date, six days before the electors vote. This way, states can avoid disputes about which candidate won the state. 


December 14: Electors vote

The electors within each state meet and officially cast their votes. These votes are sent to election officials, the National Archives and the President of the Senate.


January 6: Results are certified

The Senate President (sitting Vice President Mike Pence) and a joint session of Congress read the certificates of each state in alphabetical order, which finalizes the vote. If there are no objections from members of Congress, the results are certified.


January 20: Inauguration Day

The new president and vice president will be sworn in on January 20 in Washington D.C., and a new presidency will begin.