While Americans are used to learning who is elected president on election night, the election process is not actually completed that quickly.
Presidential winners are usually announced on election night because news organizations like Fox News or The Associated Press have enough information to accurately project a winner.
However, each state will continue to count the popular vote and certify the results in the days and even weeks after Election Day. States have varying deadlines on when they meet to certify the results.
After states certify their results, the electors of the Electoral College will convene on Dec. 14 in their respective states to cast one ballot for president and one for vice president.
When the votes have been counted and one ticket has received a majority of 270 or more electoral votes, the vice president, who presides as president of the Senate, will announce the results.
Those results “shall be deemed a sufficient declaration of the persons, if any, elected President and Vice President.”
With the results official, the winning ticket will be inaugurated as president and vice president on Jan. 21, 2021.