Inauguration | Illustrated by Kayli Thompson | The Wright State Guardian
With the results of the 2020 election final, the question of what comes next plagues the country. While the election results were announced on Saturday, Nov. 7, there is still a long road to Inauguration Day.
The Safe Harbor Deadline
President Trump has launched lawsuits in several key battleground states such as Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Arizona.
The various courts have until Dec. 8 to satisfy all outstanding civil and criminal proceedings under U.S. Penal Code Title 3. If all disputes are resolved by this date then Congress must accept the results of the Electoral College.
The Electoral College
On the Monday following the second Wednesday of December, the Electoral College delegates gather to cast their votes for president. In accordance with the Supreme Court case Chiafalo et al. v. Washington, electors are responsible for casting their ballot for the winner of their respective state.
On Jan. 6, 2021 a joint session of Congress will be held to certify the Electoral Colleges votes. Presided by the Vice President and two representatives of each chamber of Congress, each vote is counted to declare a winner.
A joint appeal may be made by one member of both the House and Senate to dispute any individual states voting results. If this occurs the joint session breaks to allow time for both chambers to debate and vote on the validity of the appeal. If both chambers approve the appeal then the state’s votes will be excluded from the final count.
Following the acceptance of the results of the election, the President and Vice President Elects will take the oath of office on Jan. 20, 2021 in front of the West side of the Capitol building.
By the end of Inauguration Day, following the Inaugural Ball, the former president is moved out of the White House and the new president moved in. The new president is prepared to begin their duties immediately.
Lame Duck Period
With the announcement of Vice President Biden becoming president elect, according to the Associated Press, President Trump has entered a lame duck period. While still president, Trump will now shift his focus to transitioning Biden and his staff.
Between the informal announcement of results in November and Inauguration Day, the sitting president and president elect begin the transfer of power. The Presidential Transition Act of 1963 sets up the expectations and guidelines of all parties to ensure the peaceful transfer of power.