To the average American citizen, the time between election day and opening day seems to be a time of rest after all the energy and effort to vote. But there is a complete checklist of things to do before the inauguration of the next president. Let’s divide all the steps of transfer of power of the President into three main steps.
Before election day, starting in April or May, transition team members are assembled. The team met with members of Congress to work with the current administration, the General Services Administration, the Office of Government Ethics, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Office of Personnel Management to set goals and prepare plans for transition.
Counting is done after the election day (and recounted if necessary) and each state certifies their results. Under the Electoral Count Act, all states must meet a deadline where all votes are counted, disputes are resolved, and the Electoral College vote is declared the winner.
Elections are held on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December. Voters meet in their respective states to cast their ballots for the presidency and send the results to Washington. The new Congress will be sworn in at noon on January 3, before the official counting of votes.
According to the official guidelines for proceedings on the Senate floor, “the Senate follows a well-established routine on the opening day of a new congress. Procedures include swearing in of senators elected or re-elected in recent general elections (approximately one-third of the Senate) or newly appointed to the convening Senate;
- To establish the presence of a quorum
- Administrative decision making
- Adoption of permanent order of the new Congress
- Bills and joint resolutions may begin to be enacted on a date agreed upon by consensus, excluding the date of assembly.
- In the event of a vacancy or a change in party control, a new president and one or more Senate officials will be elected temporarily. “
The President of the Senate (aka the Vice President) then leads a special session with members of Congress to count the electoral votes. There are 538 electoral votes and a candidate must win at least 270 votes. Each vote will be counted in alphabetical order by two nominees, each from the House and Senate. The president of the Senate announces the long numbers and listens to any objections.
At the same time, the transition team can work within these 75 days. The main activities during this period (described in the Presidential Transition Guide) include “staffing of the White House and agencies; deploying agency review teams to inspect the agency; formulating a policy and management agenda and schedule for the president-elect; and implementing the new president’s priorities.” Identify the key talent needed for.
The next president will be sworn in at noon on January 20. At this stage, the new administration identifies the President’s top priorities and finalizes the staff and employers who will work to achieve these immediate goals. It is estimated that more than 4,000 politicians will be recruited.
The importance of peaceful passage
The peaceful transfer of power from one administration to another is a long-standing American tradition. When George Washington voluntarily relinquished his presidency, it established an uninterrupted practice of delegating power to presidents after losing an election.
On a practical level, there is a need to transfer power within the administration because the federal government of the United States is one of the largest agencies. Transferring control to this level is quite complex. Without adequate relocation – especially in the case of national security briefings – the country’s security is at risk.
Symbolically, when the president relinquishes power after a loss, it implies that the will of the electorate truly rules the country. The refusal to acknowledge poses a threat to the confidence of American citizens in the government, which is already in question after a series of cases of voter repression and confusion over the importance of the vote. A peaceful transition strengthens the people’s faith in the democratic process.
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The transfer of power to the president, explained, was originally published in Voterly on Medium, where people continue the conversation by highlighting the story and reacting.