(WASHINGTON) -- Americans thought they elected a president on Nov. 6, 2012, but those results were not official -- until Friday.
The votes cast in November’s general election went to pick electors from each state -- members of the Electoral College -- who cast their ballots based on the preferences of their constituency for one candidate or another. On Friday, Vice President Joe Biden will announce the results.
The Electoral College met and cast its ballots on Dec. 17. Now, it’s time to officially count them.
In a ceremony that starts on Friday at 1 p.m. in the House Chamber, tradition dictates Senate pages will carry boxes with votes from the states into the Senate, where they will then be passed from hand to hand. The Senate Parliamentarian, Elizabeth MacDonough, will present the votes to the secretary of the Senate, Nancy Erickson, who will pass the results to House Parliamentarian Thomas J. Wickham Jr., who will then hand them to Biden.
All members of Congress -- both from the House of Representatives and the Senate -- are expected to be present for the ceremony.
Biden will give the results to tellers, who verify their authenticity and record each vote.
At the end of it all, Biden will read the results and have them recorded for posterity. Most likely, the vice president will tell us what we already know -- that he and Obama have been re-elected.
The only possible disruption to this process would be if both a House or Senate member submitted a challenge to a state’s vote tally in writing. That would trigger each chamber to consider and vote on the objection.
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