Electoral College

Key Dates and Events for State Officials and Points of Contact

The Constitution of the United States and Federal law place certain Presidential election responsibilities on State executives and the electors for President and Vice President.

The term “Governor” includes the Mayor of the District of Columbia and the term “State” includes the District of Columbia.


DATES for State Officials

November 3, 2020—Election Day
(the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November)

The voters in each State choose electors that the Governor appoints to serve in the Electoral College.

As soon as election results are final:

  • Prepare your Certificates of Ascertainment.
  • Send the appropriate number of Certificates of Ascertainment to the Archivist of the United States.
  • Retain six (6) original Certificates of Ascertainment for the meeting of the electors.


By December 8, 2020—resolve controversies
(at least six days before meeting of the electors)

Resolve any controversy or contest concerning the appointment of electors according to the process and procedures determined by your State’s law.


December 14, 2020—electors vote
(the first Monday after second Wednesday in December)

The electors in each State meet to select the President and Vice President of the United States.

  • Prepare your Certificates of Vote.
  • Pair with retained Certificates of Ascertainment.
  • Send your paired Certificates of Ascertainment and Vote.  


By December 23, 2020—electoral votes must arrive
(no later than nine days after the meeting of the electors)

Designated Federal and State officials must receive the paired Certificates no later than nine days after the meeting.


DATES of General Interest

On or before January 3, 2021—Archivist transfers Certificates to Congress

As the new Congress assembles, the Archivist transmits sets of Certificates to Congress, as requested. This generally happens when the Senate does not receive its set of Certificates on time. The transfer occurs in late December or early January when OFR’s Legal staff meets with representatives of the Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House.


January 6, 2021—Congress counts electoral votes

Congress meets in joint session to count the electoral votes (unless Congress passes a law to change the date).

The President of the Senate, the Archivist of the United States, and other designated Federal and State officials must have the electoral votes in hand at this time.


January 20, 2021, at Noon—Inauguration

The President-elect and Vice President-elect take the Oath of Office and become the President of the United States and Vice President of the United States, respectively.