The Electoral College members will cast their ballots Monday—and it will be, perhaps, the first time anyone has cared about this previously ceremonial process in American history.
Each delegation of Electors meets in their respective state capitol to vote, at a previously appointed time, codified in state law. Of the 50 states, 29 states require that Electors vote in lock-step with the results of the state’s popular vote. Twenty-one states have no such law. As of noon on Monday, there have been no surprises, according to ABC News, which is running a live feed of the event from most state capitol buildings.
In a few states, Electors have been met by a smattering of protesters, many insisting that Electors be allowed to “vote their conscience,” and possibly unaware that, in many cases, that means voting for Donald Trump.
— William Seiders (@BseidersPhotog) December 19, 2016
Although the ballots should be counted by Monday evening, the Electoral College vote won’t be official for at least two more weeks. In order to certify the results, Congress must be in session, led by the current Vice President, who will actually declare an official winner of the 2016 election.
According to US Code:
Congress shall be in session on the sixth day of January succeeding every meeting of the electors. The Senate and House of Representatives shall meet in the Hall of the House of Representatives at the hour of 1 o’clock in the afternoon on that day, and the President of the Senate shall be their presiding officer.
After that, Vice President Biden will ask sitting members of Congress to voice specific objections to a state’s vote, or a particular Elector’s vote. Lawmakers aren’t allowed to air generalized grievances against the election winner, but they can submit signed challenges to the results, which force the House and Senate into immediate conference. That is then followed by a joint conference where Congress votes on whether to honor any objections or simply toss them out.
Thanks to the magic of social media, however, we’ll all have a very good idea of what’s going to happen before January 6 rolls around.