Here’s What To Expect Before Inauguration Day

To become No. 46, Joe Biden is counting on a few key procedural steps between now and Jan. 20.

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Capitol Hill is preparing for a Jan. 20 inauguration, when Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be sworn in as president and vice president, respectively. But before any oaths are taken, these four events need to happen.

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Monday, Dec. 14

Members of the Electoral College, called electors, will meet in each state and vote on the next president and VP, ultimately sending their decisions to Vice President Mike Pence.

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Wednesday, Dec. 23

Those decisions must be received in the mail by Dec. 23.

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Sunday, Jan. 3

Shortly after New Years, the 117th Congress will be sworn into office, with the most women, women of color, and Republican women ever to hold elected seats.

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Tuesday, Jan. 5

Georgia is holding two runoff races for its U.S. Senate seats, which will decide whether Republicans or Democrats control the upper chamber.

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Wednesday, Jan. 6

Three days after assuming office, members of the House and Senate will hold a joint session to tally electoral votes, with Pence presiding. A candidate needs at least 270 votes to be declared the winner. Biden is projected to receive 306.*


*Should members of Congress object to a state's Electoral College vote, the chambers can convene separately for a maximum of two hours, followed by separate votes on the specific objection.

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*If neither candidate reaches 270, the House is tasked with declaring a winner by Jan. 20. (The Senate is tasked similarly for the VP.) A single vote is awarded to each state delegation which, according to CNN, gives Republicans an edge.

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Wednesday, Jan. 20

Barring any political hiccups, Biden and Harris will take their oaths of office at 12 p.m. ET on Inauguration Day. The outgoing president, Donald Trump, will then take the traditional helicopter ride to return to civilian life.