A month after the general election, the Electoral College gathers to carry out its responsibility of selecting the next president. The groups meet in their respective states on the first Monday after the second Wednesday of December, which this year falls on Dec. 19. But does that mean the election is definitely going to be decided that day? You might be wondering, when is the electoral vote deadline?
Much like how the campaigning of the 2016 election felt like it lasted forever, the election process also drags on long after Election Day. It's not until nine days after the Electoral College meets on Dec. 19 that the president of the Senate, the archivist of the United States, and other officials must receive the official certificates of votes. This year, that day falls on Dec. 28.
According to the National Archives and Record Administration, the Electoral College is responsible for sending out six packages of certificates of votes and certificates of attainment. One package goes to the state's president of the Senate, two to the state's secretary of state (one archival set and one reserve), two to the archivist (one to go to the permanent collection of the National Archives and Record Administration and one as a reserve), and one last package to the state's presiding judge.
It's not until Jan. 6 that the Electoral College votes are even counted by Congress, according to the National Archives and Records Administration. On that day, Vice President Joe Biden, as president of the Senate, presides over the count and announces the next president and vice president. Then, as many know, the new president will be sworn in on Inauguration Day on Jan. 20.
While there is still some slight hope that members of the Electoral College will become "faithless electors" and vote for Hillary Clinton, it's probably not going to happen, as only eight electors have gone against party wishes since 2000, according to the Congressional Research Service. If any candidate fails to win a majority of the Electoral College's votes, then the decision is passed on to the House of Representatives.
Considering the holidays that occur between the voting and counting of votes, it's probably a good thing that the system is spread out so much. But it's also a little frustrating that the process of electing a president actually takes up three whole months. From the general election in November to the inauguration in January, the American people are left waiting for a truly official determination of their next president.