Election 2020: State election certification deadlines
Under normal circumstances, the certification of presidential election results would have been a mere formality to dot the ‘I’s and cross the ‘T’s. This election cycle though, the certification deadlines mean more now than ever.
On December 14 the electors of the Electoral College that are sent by each state and the District of Columbia meet at the Capitol to officially elect a president. December 8 is the federal deadline for each state to certify their results.
There is speculation that if certain key states—such as Michigan and Pennsylvania—miss their certification deadlines, their Republican-controlled state legislatures could appoint a delegation of pro-Trump electors.
For the purpose of brevity, if no major hurdles are expected in a given state, the state’s deadline will just be listed. Some of President Trump’s legal challenges are still active in some states, but most legal experts have said that the chances of those succeeding is very low.
Friday, November 20: Georgia
On Friday, Georgia certified its election results after a hand recount of the state’s five million ballots cast and awarded the state to Joe Biden.
The Trump campaign have asked for a machine recount of the ballots and according to Gabriel Sterling, Georgia’s Voting System Implementation Manager, the recount would likely begin sometime on Tuesday, and saying on Monday that it “will probably wrap up sometime next week.”
Monday, November 23: Michigan, Pennsylvania
Michigan and Pennsylvania are set to certify their election results on Monday.
Michigan’s Board of State Canvassers are meeting Monday to vote to officially certify the state’s results. Assuming the board successfully certifies the results on Monday, Republicans could sue, but such a lawsuit is unlikely to succeed. Democrats could also sue if the board does not certify the results on Monday.
Pennsylvania counties have to certify their results on Monday and submit them to Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar, who will then officially certify the state results. It is important to note that Pennsylvania doesn’t have a hard deadline for when Boockvar must give the okay, but it is expected to be certified on time.
Tuesday, November 24: Minnesota, Nevada, North Carolina
Saturday, November 28: Ohio
Monday, November 30: Arizona, Iowa, Nebraska
Tuesday, December 1: Wisconsin
Wednesday, January 6
On January 6, Congress is set to count and certify the votes that the Electoral College cast on December 14. If any disputes remain at this date, Congress is meant to be the one who works out those issues. A scenario that experts have speculated about is if a given state’s GOP-controlled legislature were to appoint a pro-Trump Electoral College delegation in opposition to what the complete but uncertified results of that state say who won and if the Democratic governor of said state were to appoint a pro-Biden delegation. According to The New York Times, experts in election law say that the governor’s slate should be favored under federal statute.
Wednesday, January 20
But what if Trump doesn’t concede and the Electoral College goes to Biden?
John Yoo, a conservative lawyer who was a legal advisor to President George W. Bush, told CNBC a couple of weeks ago that the Constitution prevents a sitting president from staying in power beyond the end of their term in office that the Constitution defines.
“He may never concede; he doesn’t have to concede,” Yoo said. “The thing about the American Constitution is that it doesn’t actually require the sitting president to do anything one way or the other. On January 20th, Donald Trump’s term ends and Joe Biden’s, I believe, will begin.”
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.