Will Congress Certify the Vote?

Find out the basics behind the January 6 certification process and what is expected to happen.



All eyes are on the Capital on January 6 as the electoral college vote is set to be certified.

When: January 6th 2021

Where: Congress Meets on Capitol Hill in the House Chamber for a joint session to certify the vote. Congress will then split into their respective chambers to handle any disputes to the certification. Expect to see all-day coverage of the certification on CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News. CSPAN will broadcast the certification unfiltered, all-day on the cable channel, as well as their website for free.

What: US Senators and Representatives will meet in a joint session to vote to certify the Electoral College, who met last month to elect Joe Biden the next President of the United States. If at least one representative and one senator join to object to the certification of the vote, then their objections must be heard on the floor of their respective chambers.

Who: In an largely ceremonial role, Mike Pence will preside over the certification process, opening an envelope, and announcing that Joe Biden will be the next president. 140 GOP (Republican) Representatives and 12 GOP Senators could potentially object to the certification of the vote. However, this challenge has formed a rift in the Republican Party, with a handful of GOP Representatives and Senators coming out against the effort such as Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Senators Mitt Romney of Utah, and Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska. Democratic Leaders have criticized the effort as well and no Democratic Representatives and Senators are expected to join on any objections.

Why: During any other presidential election of recent memory, the congressional certification of the vote went unnoticed as merely a formality of the election process. However, the event is expected to receive an unprecedented amount of coverage and scrutiny as GOP lawmakers mount the most significant challenge to the Electoral Process since 2005, when Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer of California and Democratic Representative Stephanie Tubbs of Ohio objected to the certification of President George W. Bush’s Win in 2004. However, this would be the first time in decades that leaders of a political party have coordinated an effort to overturn the results of a presidential election. Despite this, the move is nearly certain to fail as the House remains in Democratic Hands, and just enough Senate Republicans have broken with their party to grant Joe Biden his victory in both Houses. President Trump has also applied pressure to Vice President Mike Pence to interfere in the vote count, though given that VP Pence’s role is entirely ceremonial, he will be unable to legally do so. To clarify, Joe Biden will still be inaugurated on January 20th, but in the meantime, Congress will perform quite a show for America to watch.

Further Reading/Viewing:

NPR: https://www.npr.org/2020/12/22/949134479/congress-role-in-election-results-heres-what-happens-jan-6

CSPAN: Joint Session of Congress for Counting of Electoral College Ballots

ABC News: Which GOP members of Congress plan on challenging the Electoral College results?

CNN: Democrats challenge Ohio electoral votes – Jan 6, 2005

CNN: 11 Times VP Biden was Interrupted during Trump’s electoral vote certification – January 6th 2017