When do states certify their election results?
President Trump has not yet conceded the presidential election, even though President-elect Joe Biden is projected to have secured the electoral college votes needed to win the presidency. Most congressional Republicans have been withholding their acknowledgment of Mr. Biden's victory, too — until the states make it official.
Asked Tuesday by CBS News' Nancy Cordes if Mr. Biden had won the election, Alabama Senator Richard Shelby replied, "We don't know yet, do we? It hasn't been certified." Kansas Senator Pat Roberts told her, "We'll know when the electors come to town and states certify the election."
The Trump campaign has filed lawsuits to try to stop some states won by Joe Biden from certifying their elections, including Pennsylvania and Michigan, alleging that voter fraud has occurred. But the campaign's efforts on this front have so far been unsuccessful — courts have denied the campaign's attempts to stop the vote count in Arizona, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Nevada.
On election night, the results reported are unofficial and must undergo canvassing — that is, ensuring that all the valid votes have been counted. Each state utilizes its own processes to double-check vote totals and make sure that each vote was properly counted. Then, the states certify the votes, which makes those results official; each state also has its own deadline to certify the results. Certification is typically done by a state's governor, chief election official or board of canvassers.
The states must formally certify their election results before December 14, when the Electoral College members meet in their respective states to cast their votes for president. Under federal law, if states meet the "safe harbor" deadline of December 8 to resolve any election disputes within the state and certify their results, Congress is guaranteed to accept them. Only California plans to certify its results past the safe harbor date this year.
Several states have already certified their results, while others, like the battleground states of Arizona and Georgia, which have not yet finished reporting unofficial results, will not certify until later this month. Georgia announced Wednesday that it will conduct a manual hand recount of all ballots cast in the presidential race because the margin of Mr. Biden's lead over the president is so narrow — just 0.3%.
Here is a rundown of when states certify their election results:
*Rhode Island, Tennessee, Hawaii and New Hampshire do not have specific certification deadlines written into state law.
- South Dakota
- South Carolina
- North Dakota
- District of Columbia
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
- West Virginia
- New York
- New Jersey
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