Biden won. Now what? Next steps in the presidential transition of power.

Haley Simpkins

Now that Joe Biden has been named president-elect, what happens next? 

President Trump said in a press release on Saturday that his campaign will take the next steps for legal action on Monday to “ensure election laws are fully upheld and the rightful winner is seated.”

Once legal matters are settled and final ballot counts are in, the official Electoral College vote will take place in mid December. In most states, the winner of the states popular vote will be awarded all the states electoral votes, no matter what margin they win by. 

While many states, including Kentucky, do not require this by law, electors typically vote with the popular vote within their state because it is the precedent that electors often follow. However, there is always a small possibility  that some electors will not vote with their state’s popular vote, as we saw 7 electors successfully do in 2016.

These final electoral college vote totals will then be read and certified in front of Congress in early January, before Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20. 

The period when a successor has been elected to office but has yet to be inaugurated is known as the lame duck period. During this time, the outgoing administration and the president-elect typically arrange meetings to align an easy transition of power in the coming months. 

Though Trump has said he may not concede to a peaceful transition of power, the transition actually began in early May as required by the 1963 Presidential Transition Act when the administration was required to establish a White House transition coordinating council. 

Yet to be determined is the extent the Trump administration will be open to meetings with the president-elect to discuss policy and transition items. 

Another common occurrence during the lame duck period is the issuance of last minute pardons and executive orders, and it is unclear how many of those we may see as Trump prepares to leave office. 

The title of president-elect doesn’t really pack any power until the inauguration, but this time period is typically when cabinet and initial policy decisions start being discussed. 

If you’re interested in learning more about some of those possible cabinet choices, Politico has put together a thorough list that you can view here.

No matter what’s to come in the next few weeks, it is clear that there is still a long way to go until results and transitions are finalized.