The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Road to the White House


By Sheri-Lee Norris

Casting a ballot for president is not the formal end of the election process. According to the Constitution, our president is officially elected by the Electoral College not the popular vote. 

The new president will be officially sworn in Jan. 20. Many things happen between the day of election and the inaugural.

Nov. 8: Election Dayrtw4

When people go to vote for president and vice president, they are actually voting for electors in the Electoral College. Each state’s political party will put forward a slate of electors. In 48 states, including Texas, laws specify the candidate who wins the most votes in their state wins all the electoral votes of that state.

 Dec. 19: Electoral College meetsrtw3

Electors vote in their respective state capitals on or before this date. There are a total of 538 electors — a combination of the number of members in the House of Representatives (435), plus the Senate (100), plus the District of Columbia (3). A majority of 270 votes are required for a new president to win the Electoral College.

Texas currently has 34 votes in the Electoral College based on 32 representatives plus two senators.

Jan. 6: Congress certifiesrtw2

A joint session of Congress meets to officially count and certify the results of the Electoral College.

It is possible that a tie could occur in the Electoral College although it has never happened.

If no candidate receives 270 votes in the Electoral College, the selection of president is made by the House of Representatives, and the vice president is selected by the Senate.

Jan. 20: Inauguration Dayrtw1

The change in president is effective exactly at noon. Therefore, the formal swearing in is at that time.

The inauguration day itself is run by tradition. The only requirement is an oath of office. It is usually administered by the chief justice of the Supreme Court with one hand on a Bible. President Barack Obama took the oath of office on the Bible of Martin Luther King Jr.

The outgoing president and family are taken from the White House by helicopter Jan. 20. Furnishings of the new president will have already been moved into the private living quarters. The White House officially transfers occupants at noon. Some but not all outgoing presidents attend the inauguration of the incoming president.

Every state has an inaugural ball on Jan. 20. Many smaller states combine for one large ball while large states like Texas, California and New York usually have their own. The newly elected president and spouse start out the evening with their home state gala. They try to visit each ball, dance at least one dance and perhaps say a few words.

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