Post-Election Update: Transfer of Power

By Edmund Shryock

As the closely viewed 2020 Election comes to a close, Joe Biden was projected as the President Elect. Now all eyes are focused on President Trump and what he does in these final months of his Presidency. Here are 5 key events in the typical Presidential transition of power:

  1. Conceding the Race- The first steps in the Presidential transition of power would take place on or around election night. This would be when the losing opponent in the election would concede the election to the winner. However, Donald Trump has not officially conceded in the 2020 election and is holding recounts and lawsuits within the major swing states. One of the many things Trump tweeted came on November 23, when he wrote, “Will never concede to fake ballots.” Even though conceding an election has been a tradition, it is not required by law. However, maybe Trump will change his mind and drop the recounts before election day on January 20, 2021.
  2. The Dispute Deadline- December 8th, 2020. All state recounts and court cases over the presidential election results must be completed by this date. This will be crucial due to President Trump having multiple court cases and disputes in several swing states. Perhaps this will be the end to the Trump Administrations fight on the 2020 election results.
  3. The Gathering of the Electors- On December 14 2020, electors in each state meet and formally cast their ballots for the President and the Vice President. They will send copies of each ballot to the President of the Senate (who is the Vice-President). This will be a formal way of giving the electoral votes to each candidate and one of the final steps in the transition of power.
  4. Intelligence Reports and a New Cabinet- In the past when a winner is projected, they will start to get de-briefed on national security and pandemic responses. This will allow the President Elect and Vice President Elect to be ready when taking office on January 20th. However, President-Elect Biden is tasked with appointing new people to fill in national jobs such as Secretary of State and Attorney General. This will replace the numerous spots that are currently held by Trump appointed officials. This is one of the main reasons why there is a huge gap in between Election Day and Inauguration Day. However, Biden has just recently started to get briefed and pick his cabinet which puts him behind the average President-Elect’s progress.
  5. Inauguration Day- The current situation in Washington may leave numerous people divided and unsure about the results of the 2020 election. However, one thing that is for sure is that somebody is going to be sworn in on January 20, 2021. If Joe Biden is sworn in, it is tradition that the loser of the election will attend the inauguration. However, Americans are still unsure if Trump will attend the ceremony. On this day, this will draw the end to the transition of power and the beginning of a new Presidency. 

The transition of power is a key in upholding our nation’s democracy that Americans have upheld since 1776. Even though the 2020 election consisted of vigorous attacks from both sides of the political spectrum, leaving the country divided, January 20 will be a day that Americans will hopefully come together and unite behind their President, especially during the Coronavirus Pandemic.