Safe harbor law locks Congress into accepting Joe Biden's win Tuesday

Joe Biden
Posted at 9:17 AM, Dec 08, 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A deadline set Tuesday under federal law essentially locks in President-elect Joe Biden’s victory, even though President Donald Trump is still falsely claiming he won reelection.

Outlined in the Electoral Count Act of 1887, the safe harbor deadline falls six days before the Electoral College meets to formally cast votes for the president based on the popular vote in each state. This cycle, that vote will take place on Dec. 14.

Other than Wisconsin, every state appears to have met the safe harbor deadline, which means Congress has to accept the electoral votes that will be cast next week and sent to the Capitol for counting on Jan. 6.

By the end of the day Tuesday, every state is expected to make its election results official, with 306 electoral votes being awarded to Biden and 232 going to Trump. A total of 270 votes are needed to claim the White House.

Those votes will elect Biden as the country’s next president.

It’s called a safe harbor provision because it’s a kind of insurance policy by which a state can insulate its electoral votes against challenges in Congress by finishing up certification of the results and any state court legal challenges by the deadline.