According to the Associated Press, Fox, CNN, ABC, CBS, and NBC, the American people have spoken. Joe Biden is the president-elect of the United States. We are reaching out so you have the facts on what happens next in this process and to propose three specific action items for the coming days.
Over the coming weeks every vote will be counted and the results will be certified. Presidential electors will meet in each state in December to cast their votes. And, in January, a new Congress will formally count the electoral votes. Finally, on January 20th, at noon, the current presidential term will end and the next president will be sworn in. Here’s what the timeline looks like.
- Read more about the election timeline and Congress’s role in the process.
- Read more about how state legislatures can’t override the popular vote.
Before the next president is sworn in, our country will go through a presidential transition — the process of “handing over the keys” to the machinery of government. This process is governed by a number of different laws. No matter what politicians say to the contrary, this process will move forward. Read more about the laws governing the transition period, here.
There are many Senate, House, state, and local races across the country that have yet to be determined. Every vote in every jurisdiction must be counted and the election will not be over until each of these races is resolved.
Still, the country can now begin to move forward. And you can help:
First, congratulate voters, poll workers, and election officials. Regardless of who you voted for, this election was a win for democracy. At least 150 million Americans have turned out to vote, more than ever before in the history of our country. In the face of countless hardships—including a global pandemic—dedicated election officials across the country delivered an upset: a safe, free, and fair election.
Second, reject (but don’t engage with) efforts to undermine the result. The coming days and weeks may bring a flood of disinformation that seeks to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the result. These messages cannot reverse the result, but they can deepen the wounds of an already divisive election. By clearly and loudly recognizing the election results, you can help counteract these efforts. But be careful—research suggests that engaging directly with disinformation can accidentally amplify or legitimize it. Focus on the result, and the future.
Third, publicly emphasize the fact that “the voters have spoken.” Urge your followers, your friends, your employees, your family, your parishioners, or your viewers to do the same. Democracy depends on all of us, whether we won or lost, coming together and accepting the results. It’s time to move forward.
The next presidential term will begin on January 20th. It’s up to all of us to make sure we have a peaceful and orderly transition of power.
Our post-election toolkit includes Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook suggested text and graphics, along with talking points and how to stay involved. It will be updated over time.
If you haven’t already, you can sign up to receive rapid response social media content and talking points at https://www.electiontaskforce.org/advocates
✓ Democracy won — “Even in the midst of a pandemic and an economic crisis, more Americans voted than ever before. This is a remarkable accomplishment, and we should be proud of our country and each other.”
✓ Move forward — “Now that the election is over, we can focus on addressing the many challenges (like the pandemic) facing our country.”
✓ Unity and cooperation— “After every election, win or lose, we have to find a way to come back together as a country. The presidential race is over, but our democracy continues on.”
✓ The process continues—“There are many Senate, House, state, and local races across the country that have yet to be determined. Every vote in every jurisdiction must still be counted, and the election will not be over until each of these races is resolved.”