Election results are finalized through processes called canvassing and certification. Canvassing generally refers to how state and local officials confirm the validity of ballots cast in an election. Certification is the process authorities use to formalize the election results based on the canvass. However, some states, localities, and commentators use the terms interchangeably to describe the entire process of counting ballots and formalizing results.
Election result certification deadlines are set in state law. Certification deadlines for the 2020 election are as follows:
- The certification deadline in Georgia is November 20.
- The certification deadline in six states is within one week of the election.
- In 26 states and the District of Columbia, the certification deadline is between November 10 and November 30.
- In 14 states, the certification deadline is in December.
- Four states (Hawaii, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Tennessee) do not have statutory deadlines for results certification.
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