Image Credit:  AFP / JIM WATSON

WASHINGTON D.C. — The United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate will meet in a joint session on Friday to count and certify the results from the electoral college. The meeting will be presided over by the president of the Senate, who is currently Vice President Joe Biden.

The motion to do this was made late in the legislative day on Monday in the House of Representatives, on the first day of business. Other things that occurred on the day include passing a rules package for the 115th Congress, which among other things calls for members to be assessed fines if they use video recording equipment on the floor, like last year’s Democratic sit-in over the refusal of the Republicans to allow a vote on a gun control measure.

The counting of the Electoral College is normally a procedural formality since the total is usually well over the number of votes required, but it takes on a new flavor this year, as President-Elect Donald Trump won the Electoral College, but lost the popular vote to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. This led to calls for electors who were pledged to Trump to defect and vote for Clinton, which didn’t happen.

There are means for Congress to dispute the vote totals. The first step is a member of the House, and a member of the Senate both have to challenge the vote totals from a particular state, this kicks off a period of debate and eventually a vote as to if the total is allowed. This particular course has never happened.