CGCN Weekly Update: Key Election & Congressional Dates

Key Dates for The Presidency 

November 3 – Election Day

Votes cast on election day are for electors committed to supporting presidential candidates.

November 4 through December 14 – States count votes and certify popular vote results.

U.S. Code (3 U.S.C. §6) requires state governors to prepare, “as soon as practicable,” documents known as “Certificates of Ascertainment” of the vote. The Certificates of Ascertainment lists all names of electors chosen by votes and the number of votes each elector received in the popular vote.

December 8 – “Safe Harbor” deadline.

U.S. Code (3 U.S.C. §5) sets the “safe harbor” date six days before the Electoral College vote for states to make a final determination of any controversy or contest concerning the appointment of all or any of the electors.

December 14 – Electors vote in their state

U.S. Code (3 U.S.C. §7) sets the date for electors to meet and vote on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December. The electors count the results and sign “Certificates of Votes,” which contain two lists, one for electoral votes for the President, and the second for electoral votes for the Vice President.

December 23 – Deadline for Certificates to be delivered to the President of the Senate, et al.

U.S. Code (3 U.S.C. §12) sets the deadline for delivery of Certificates of Votes combined with Certificates of Ascertainment to the President of the Senate, the Secretary of State of the respective State, the Archivist of the United States, and to the judge of the district in which the electors shall have assembled.

January 6 – Joint session of Congress to count electoral votes and declare election results

U.S. Code (3 U.S.C. §15) requires that Congress meet at 1 PM on January 6 following every meeting of the electors to count the electoral votes and declare election results. Members may object, in writing, to any state’s result. The objection must state the grounds for objections and be signed by at least one Senator and one Member of the House of Representatives. Any objection must be approved by both the House and Senate, and, if objections are certified, the contested votes are excluded.

January 20 – Presidential Inauguration

The 20th Amendment sets the date and time for the start of the new Presidential term on Wednesday, January 20 at 1 PM.


Key Dates for Congress


Next Week

·       Senate to resume session

·       Senate Republicans to hold leadership elections

·       Expect[1] Senate Democrats to hold leadership elections

November 12, 2020

·       House Republicans begin “New Member” orientation

November 16, 2020

·       House to resume session

·       House Republican Leadership Candidate forum

November 17, 2020

·       House Republican leadership elections

November 18, 2020

·       House Republican Organizing Conference: Conference Rules and Steering Committee Structure

·       House Democratic leadership elections

November 20, 2020

·       House Republican to hold Steering “Regional Representative” elections

End of November

·       Expect Leader McConnell (R-KY) to announce Sen. Crapo (R-ID) as the leader of the “Committee on Committees” for the 117th Congress[2]

November 30, 2020

·       Expiration: Various health care extenders


First Week of December

·       House Republicans will issue assignments for “A” Committee Chairs or Ranking Members

December 11, 2020

·       Expiration: Funding for the federal government


·       Senate Democrats expected to announce committee assignments[3]

December 31, 2020

·       Expiration: CARES Act: Treasury/Fed business, state and local government loan authority

·       Expiration: CARES Act: Various temporary tax breaks

·       Expiration: CARES Act: Emergency sick and family leave provisions

·       Expiration: CARES Act: Pandemic unemployment assistance

·       Expiration: CARES Act: Medicare sequestration suspension

·       Expiration: CARES Act: Changes to banking and accounting rules

·       Expiration: Partial tax extenders

·       Expiration: General System of Preferences (GSP)


January 4, 2021

·       Expected House roll call vote for Speaker of the House[4]

·       Expected House roll call votes on adopting rules for the 117th Congress[5]

·       Expected Senate Republicans to announce committee assignments[6]

January 5, 2021

·       Potential Georgia runoff election for Senate seats

·       Expect Senate and House Republicans and Democrats submit a resolution to constitute members on committee assignments[7]


[1] Previous elections for Democratic Leadership have been held in the first week the Senate returns to session after the November elections.

[2] Previous announcements were made on November 28, 2018.

[3] Senate Democrats announced committee assignments on December 13, 2018, the day before the Senate adjourned for the year.

[4] Based estimate on votes in previous Congresses. Previous votes for Speaker of the House: January 3, 2019 (116th), January 3, 2017 (115th), January 6, 2015 (114th).

[5] Based estimate off past votes in previous Congresses. Past votes for adopting rules: January 3, 2019 (116th), January 3, 2017 (115th), January 6, 2015 (114th)

[6] Both 115th and 116th committee assignment announcements were made on January 3 of 2017 and 2019, respectively.

[7] Resolutions were submitted and agreed to by unanimous consent within the first week of session.