EXPLAINER: Media Announces Results, Congress Certifies Winner

The process election in the US,  where Joe Biden, candidate of the Democratic Party, has just been announced winner of the keenly contested 2020 presidential election.

While there is a central collating centre in Nigeria where results from across the states are sent to, elections in the US are conducted by state-based independent electoral bodies which also reserve the right to announce the results to the media upon final counting.

Indeed, in the US, there is no federal electoral body concerned with the business of the presidential election. The Federal Election Commission focuses on enforcing federal campaign finance law.


Elections in the US are first certified at the state level, and it is based on this that electors to the electoral college are picked and who will then officially vote for the president.


The media plays a crucial role in the US presidential election as it projects and then declares a winner based on the reading of the data it tracks from the state electoral bodies.

The electoral bodies also largely rely on the media to announce results from the states.

Even when the counting process was still in progress, the majority of US media organisations had on Saturday announced Biden as winner of the election — based on their projection.

Expectedly, Donald Trump, incumbent president and candidate of the Republican Party, said the media cannot decide the next US president.

In the president’s estimation, the election is far from over and Biden is “using his media allies to declare himself winner.”

He said: “Joe Biden has not been certified as the winner of any states, let alone any of the highly contested states headed for mandatory recounts.”


The US follows a different process in certifying the winner of the presidential election.

The certification largely rests on the congress which is expected to convene on January 6, 2021.

The essence of the meeting is to count electoral votes and also to certify the election of the president and vice-president. The president of the Senate presides over the counting, and interestingly, the vice-president constitutionally serves as the US senate president.

So, in January, Vice-President Mike Pence, running mate to Trump in the 2020 election, will certify Biden’s victory.



Written by PH

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