Election: What Actually Happens on January 6th


Annalise Batista

Art of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.

We are now waiting for Congress to approve the Electoral College results.

After months of debate and vigorous campaigning, the 2020 election is finally coming to a close. On December 14, 2020, the Electoral College got together to cast their votes for who will be the next President of the United States. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were selected to be the 46th president and vice president of the United States by a margin of 306 to 232. Only one step stands between Joe Biden and the inauguration. This step is a congressional vote on January 6th, 2021.

In the 12 Amendment of the Constitution it states that “The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted; The person having the greatest Number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed.” As explained in the Amendment, the Senate and House of Representatives will officially tally all Electoral College votes on January 6th. 

 On this date, Vice President Mike Pence will preside over the joint meeting of congress. Pence will then oversee the counting of all the Electoral College ballots. Although extremely rare in the nation’s history, objections can be made to contest election results in this meeting. Thankfully we have procedures to deal with them. The Electoral Count Act of 1887 sets up these procedures. To be able to object to a state’s results, both a member of the House and of the Senate must support the objection. Then, the two chambers will separate to debate the proposed objection. For an objection to take effect, it must pass in both the House and the Senate with a simple majority. Although many Republicans hope to overturn the Electoral College’s vote, it is unlikely for this to occur. Democrats hold a majority in the House, making it nearly impossible for any objections to pass.

After this meeting takes place on January 6th, Joe Biden will await January 20th to be sworn in as the 46th President of the United States of America. Despite the provocative rhetoric surrounding the 2020 election, Joe Biden hopes to unite a deeply divided America. Even if he is unsuccessful in his hope, we can be grateful to have a Constitutional process that protects the integrity of our elections.