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Local 5 - weareiowa.com | Des Moines Local News & Weather | Des Moines, Iowa

Here's the timeline for when states certify election results

States like Iowa and Arkansas must certify results in November, but California has until Dec. 11.

Election Day is by far not the end of the process, but really closer to the beginning.

Once Americans cast their votes, in person or by mail, it's up to each state to verify those ballots, tally the results and review challenges, if there are any. 

Then comes the next important part of the election: certification.  

The date of the general election is set by the U.S. Constitution, but it is counties that count the votes and the Secretaries of State that certify or finalize them.

Not the media. 

And the date for certification is different in each state. For example, the deadline for Arkansas to certify Nov. 3 election results is Nov. 18.

But in California, the state with the highest population in the country, they have more time. Their certification date is Dec. 11.

In Iowa, results must be certified "no later than twenty-seven days" after the election, according to Iowa Code. 

That means Iowa's deadline to certify 2020 election results is Nov. 30. 

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In Georgia, a close battleground in the 2020 presidential election, their Secretary of State has only 17 days—until Nov. 20 at 5 p.m.—to certify the results.

In a sense, national elections are 50 different state elections.

The results of the popular vote in each state determine which party's electors are part of the Electoral College.

And the Constitution spells out exactly when the electors meet to vote for President and Vice President as: the Monday after the second Wednesday in December. 

This year, that date is Dec. 14.

That is when the election by the people will officially be over.

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