For the average American citizen, the time between Election Day and Inauguration Day feels like a lazy period after all the energy and efforts that went into getting out to vote. But there is a whole to-do list before the next president takes office. Let’s analyze all the steps involved in the transfer of presidential powers to three key phases.
Long before Election Day, beginning in April or May, members of the transition team meet. This team meets with members of Congress, 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 the transition plan.
After Election Day the votes are counted (and counted if necessary) and each state certifies its results. Under the Electoral Counting Law, all states must meet a deadline by which all votes are counted, disputes are resolved, and the winner of the electoral college votes is announced.
Electoral votes are cast on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December. Voters meet in their respective states to cast their votes for the president and send the results to Washington. Before the official counting of the electoral votes, the new Congress takes office at noon on January 3.
For him Official guide to proceedings in the full Senate, “The Senate follows a well-established routine on the opening day of a new Congress. Procedures include the swearing in of Senators elected or re-elected in the most recent general election (approximately one third of the Senate) or newly appointed to the convening Senate;
- establish the presence of a quorum
- adopting administrative resolutions
- Adoption of permanent orders for the new Congress.
- agree by unanimous consent a date, other than the date of the meeting, on which bills and joint agreements may begin to be presented
- elect a new president pro tempore and one or more Senate officials if there is a vacancy or a change in party control. “
The President of the Senate (also known as the Vice President) conducts a special session with members of Congress to count electoral votes. There are 538 electoral votes and a candidate must win a minimum of 270. Each vote read and then counted in alphabetical order by two appointees from the House and Senate. The president of the Senate announces the counts and listens to any objections.
At the same time, the transition team goes to work within this 75-day period. Key activities during this time (as described in the Presidential Transition Guide) include “staffing the White House and agencies; deploy agency review teams to visit agencies; prepare the agendas and the policy and management calendar for the president-elect; and identify the key talent needed to execute the new president’s priorities. “
The next president is sworn in at noon on January 20. During this phase, the new administration identifies the president’s top priorities and finalizes the staff and designees who will work toward these immediate goals. It is estimated that more than 4,000 political appointments will be established.
The importance of a peaceful transition
The peaceful transition of powers from the incumbent administration to the incoming administration is a longstanding American tradition. When George Washington voluntarily resigned his presidency, he established an uninterrupted practice of presidents relinquishing power after losing an election.
On a practical level, the transition of powers between administrations is necessary since the federal government of the United States is one of the largest organizations. Transferring control at this level is quite complex. Without a proper transition, especially when it comes to national security briefings, the nation’s security is put at risk.
Symbolically, when the president gives up power after a loss, it means that the will of the voters actually rules the country. The refusal to concede poses a threat to American citizens’ confidence in government, which is already in doubt after the cases of voter suppression and confusion about the importance of voting. A peaceful transition strengthens the people’s faith in the democratic process.