Electoral College votes in week in next presidential election step

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In other U.S. elections, candidates are elected directly by popular vote. But the president and vice president are not elected directly by citizens.

The Electoral College will meet in one week, on Dec. 14, as the nation enters the next round of electing a president.

Electors will meet in their states next Monday and vote for president and vice president on separate ballots. The electors record their votes on six certificates of vote, which are paired with the six remaining certificates of ascertainment. The electors sign, seal and certify six sets of electoral votes.

The electors’ certificates of vote must be received by the president of the U.S. Senate — Vice President Mike Pence — no later than nine days after the electors meet. The certificates must be sent to Congress on or before Jan. 3.

ExploreEverything you need to know about the Electoral College

Three days later, Congress will meet in joint session to count the electoral votes. Pence will preside over the count and then declare who has been elected president and vice president.

If any objections to the electoral votes are made, they must be submitted in writing and be signed by at least one member of the House and one senator. If objections are presented, the House and Senate withdraw to their respective chambers to consider the objections.

President-elect Joe Biden has already won, by virtually every media outlet, more than enough electoral votes to win the White House, though President Donald Trump has not conceded the election.

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Joe Biden becomes first presidential candidate to receive 80 million votes

However, if no presidential candidate had won at least 270 electoral votes, the House decides the election under the 12th Amendment. This has happened only once: in 1824, when the House elected John Quincy Adams as president.

If no vice presidential candidate wins at least 270 votes, the Senate elects the vice president, also under the 12th Amendment.

Biden is scheduled to be inaugurated at noon on Jan. 20.

The Electoral College was devised at the Constitutional Convention in 1787. It was a compromise between those who wanted direct popular elections for president and those who preferred to have Congress decide. At a time of little national identity and competition among the states, there were concerns that people would favor their regional candidates and that big states with denser populations would dominate the vote.

The Electoral College has 538 members, with the number allocated to each state based on how many representatives it has in the House, plus its two senators. The District of Columbia gets three, despite the fact the home to Congress has no vote in the nation’s legislative system.

While the Constitution doesn’t require electors to follow their state’s popular vote, many states’ laws do. Though it’s rare, electors have challenged those laws and voted for someone else. But in July, the Supreme Court ruled those state laws are constitutional. Electors must follow their state’s popular vote, if the state has passed such a law.