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Certifying results, possible recounts & more: These are the next steps in the presidential election

Posted at 8:21 AM, Nov 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-09 08:21:46-05
(WXYZ) —

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have been named President and Vice President-elect, but that is based on unofficial results. The first ballot count and tally are completed in Michigan, but there is still a long process of checks and balances until the election results become official.

Biden took the stage for the first time as president-elect on Saturday night, but counties across the country began the process of canvassing, which includes double-checking the details, making sure the number of ballots cast matches the number of voters.

"Making sure that one Democrat and one Republican signed off on things, that seal numbers were written down, we have a huge checklist that we go through," Oakland Count Clerk Lisa Brown said.

That process takes about two weeks and has observers.

"I think people should always be watching the and seeing that again this is another one of our checks and balances in place to ensure our elections are accurate," she added.

Each county has until Nov. 17 to canvas, and each state has until Dec. 8 to certify those results. After that, a presidential candidate has 48 hours to demand a recount.

Once the result is final, the Electoral College meets in each state on Dec. 14 and those votes are sent to Washington D.C. by Dec. 23.

"This isn't something you can do over Zoom, you have the certificates that have to be signed and they will be forwarded to Washington D.C," Michigan elector Mark Miller said.

Miller will serve as one of Michigan's 16 electors this year.

"I’m a pledged Democratic elector, so if President Trump had won Michigan this time then it would be a different set of folks going to Lansing," he said.

Trump has filed lawsuits hoping to stop this process, but many have been dismissed due to lack of evidence. Here in Michigan, experts say the margin of votes is tough to make up

When all is said and done, to change about 150,000 votes is a really big task and it's extremely unlikely that that will happen," University of Michigan Political Scientist Jonathan Hanson said.

If there is a recount, which the candidate would have to pay for, the ballots would all be counted by hand.

Once the Electoral votes are cast, Congress will certify those results on Jan. 6. After that, the next President of the United States will be inaugurated on Jan. 20.