What Happens After the Voting for President Ends?

Allegheny County Election Officials Continue Counting Ballots
Officials count ballots in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania after the November 3 election.

The Presidential election took place on November 3, 2020. Joe Biden is projected as the winner. But the election isn’t over yet. After the election, people have to count all the votes. They need to be sure the election was fair.

Some people mail in their ballots instead of voting in person. Each state has rules about counting mail-in ballots. In some states, mail-in ballots are not counted until after the polls close. Officials still count votes after Election Day. They also check any ballots they are unsure about.

Once the votes are counted, election officials certify the results. The deadlines are different for each state. The District of Columbia and 26 states have deadlines between November 10 and November 30. Fourteen states have deadlines in early December. Four states—Hawaii, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and New Hampshire—have no deadline for certification.

Each state needs to have the results certified by a certain date. This date is called the “safe harbor “deadline. Any problems with voting need to be fixed by then. The safe harbor deadline this year is December 8, 2020. Then the electors selected by each state cast their votes for president and vice president on December 14. Only then is the election official.

What Do You Think? Why isn’t the election “over” on Election Day?

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