When Are Electoral College Results Announced? Faithless Electors Could Switch Things Up

US Vice President Joe Biden (C-back) takes part in the count of the Electoral College votes for the 2012 presidential election as House Speaker John Boehner (R) looks on during a joint Senate and House session at the Capitol in Washington on January 4, 2013. US President Barack Obama was officially declared the winner of 2012 presidential election after the counting session-- a quaint formality, perhaps, but constitutionally required. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Source: JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images

Following the election, there has been exhaustive talk of how the Electoral College will vote. It seems that the whole process is up in the air this year, with electors asking for extensions, flipping on their party's chosen candidate, and quitting the job altogether. This mess, of course, is thanks to none other than Donald Trump, who won the election in a manner that seemingly could have been ripped straight out of House of Cards. But despite this national spotlight on the electors to change the outcome, the Electoral College results will be officially counted and announced the same day as always: Jan. 6.

Though the electors cast their official ballots on Dec. 19 in their respective state capitols, this later date is reserved for counting the electoral votes. On Jan. 6, Congress will come together in a joint session to tally the votes, then Vice President Joe Biden, who will officially preside over the count, will announce the next president and vice president of the United States.

The current U.S. code is strict about these timelines, though there is some room for flexibility (Congress, for instance, may pass a law to officially change the counting date). The code reads:

Congress shall be in session on the sixth day of January succeeding every meeting of the electors. The Senate and House of Representatives shall meet in the Hall of the House of Representatives at the hour of 1 o'clock in the afternoon on that day, and the President of the Senate shall be their presiding officer.

So if all goes smoothly, the public should expect the official results some time in the afternoon that day.

But as we've seen time and time again this election, not everything may go according to plan. One of the most recent hiccups in the Electoral College schedule comes from House of Representatives Democrat Don Beyer, who is asking Congress to delay the vote until the electors can get an intelligence briefing on alleged Russian interference in the election. Though the White House has pointed fingers at Russia and its president, Putin has dismissed the claims as "laughable." Beyer is the third Democratic lawmaker to throw his support behind a request for electors to receive this briefing prior to casting their vote.

If Congress grants them this request, we could possibly see the official counting date pushed back as well. It's unlikely, as this date already runs close to Inauguration Day, but is still in the realm of possibility.

But really, anything to delay Trump taking the White House, right?

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