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Here are the next steps in electing the president

Posted at 11:24 PM, Nov 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-08 23:24:14-05

(WXYZ) — With the unofficial results in, Joe Biden has won Michigan and has been named president-elect. However, there is still a long process ahead until he is officially elected president.

"You're not going to see official results until the canvas is done," said Oakland County Clerk Lisa Brown.

Right now, every county is canvassing their results. It's a process that can take up to two weeks.

“We make sure that the number of ballots cast matches the number of voters," Brown said. "We have a three-point check to make sure those all match.”

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

“That is done by a hand count, meaning we’re not using equipment to put those ballots through again," Brown said. "That requires one democrat and one republican looking at every single ballot to assign that vote.”

However, Brown says recounts usually don't change the result.

“With the equipment and the technology we have today, you’re really not going to see any change.”

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

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

Miller will serve as one of Michigan’s 16 electors this year, who are selected by the winning party. Although some electors have voted against their state’s winner before, Michigan has rules against it.

“I was required, along with the other Michigan electors, to sign a pledge that if I were considering not voting for Joe Biden for president and Kamala Harris for vice president, that would constitute automatic resignation,” Miller said.

The president has mounted legal challenges in some states hoping to halt this process, but many have been dismissed due to lack of evidence. That includes a lawsuit filed in Michigan that was dismissed on Friday. Regardless, the margin in Michigan is tough to make up.

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

Once the electoral votes are certified by January 6, the new President is inaugurated on Jan. 20.