9

I understand that the President-elect is not officially elected until December 19 - why would there be a transition visit to the White House if that's the case? Isn't it technically premature?

  • 1
    The President-elect actually gets officially elected on January 6th when Congress counts and ratifies the state electors' results. Until that point there is the opportunity for rejection of the results. – TylerH Nov 12 '16 at 15:59
40

Although the Electoral College has the ability to elect a different president then what the states vote for (called being a Faithless Elector), there has never been so many faithless electors that the current President-elect was not able to be elected into office. It is generally assumed that the President-elect will be voted into office by the Electoral College.

|improve this answer|||||
  • 1
    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Philipp Nov 12 '16 at 8:18
  • If we forbid Obama/Trump from transition visits before Trump is officially elected President (by the electoral college), then they could just relabel their discussions "informational interviews". I do not think we should be micromanaging the President of the United States. Since Trump currently has no official position (he is not even President-elect yet), we are no position to even manage Private Citizen Trump. – emory Nov 12 '16 at 11:52
  • 1
    @emory - Trump officially is the President-elect. President-elect Trump has a .gov website, americagreat.gov. This would not be possible were he merely Private Citizen Trump. It is the GSA that doles out .gov domain names, and it is the administrator of the GSA who, per the Presidential Transition Act of 1963, designates the apparent winner of the election as the President-elect. – David Hammen Nov 13 '16 at 14:11
  • @DavidHammen the .gov website has NO (none, notta) legal provenance. The .gov domain is managed by Verisign and under a voluntary agreement limits assignment of .gov domains to "bonafide" US government entities... – Cos Callis Nov 28 '16 at 22:22
  • @CosCallis -- Try getting your own personal .gov domain name. You'll have to go through the GSA, you'll have to have bonafide authorizing or sponsoring agency, and you'll have to able to show your domain represents the US government. From dotgov.gov/portal/web/dotgov/domain-guidelines, "To maintain domain name integrity, eligibility is limited to qualified government organizations and programs. Having a managed domain name such as .gov assures your customers that they are accessing an official US Government Site." – David Hammen Nov 29 '16 at 1:49
32

More planning time and coordination is always better than less. Since the results are not in dispute, there's nothing that would bar or block the current president from getting together and planning a transition with the probable next president before it becomes officially "official."

There's nothing legally binding about their conversations. If a random flying whale or, say, criminal charges were to accidentally land on the "presumptive" president-elect, it's not like these discussions would somehow hamper or set back a different person if they needed to step in.

The sooner a new Commander In Chief can get up to speed and start governing (and less time spent getting acclimated and settled in), the more productive an administration can be.

|improve this answer|||||
  • 3
    It may be noteworthy that other transition briefings have been going on for some time. – user9389 Nov 11 '16 at 16:46
  • It may also be noteworthy that shortly after the election, the party of the winning candidate in a state (or congressional district in the case of Nebraska and Maine) selects the electors for that state. Those electors are chosen by the candidates; this selection is made for each state shortly after a candidate wins a party's convention. – David Hammen Nov 11 '16 at 20:54
  • @DavidHammen I thought that the electors were selected quite before the elections already (and the elections just choose which of the lists of electors gets elected)? – Paŭlo Ebermann Nov 16 '16 at 21:48
15

Why would the President-elect have a transition visit before December 19?

Waiting until December 19 to start the transition because the electoral college might rebel (they won't) doesn't make sense. The Electoral College will elect Donald Trump.

The four-plus week period between December 19 to January 20 shrinks to two weeks because of the holidays and preparation for the inauguration. Two weeks is not nearly enough time to ensure a smooth transition. Even two months (the time between the election and the inauguration, less Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and preparing for the inauguration) is not enough time.

Almost every one of the roughly 3000 high-level jobs filled by presidential appointment change hands when the outgoing and incoming presidents are of opposing parties. This doesn't happen immediately. Delaying the start of the transition to after November 19 would create a vacuum in the topmost of these high-level jobs. A vacuum will exist in the remainder of these high-level jobs. After a year in office, President Reagan had filled 86% of those key jobs while President Obama had only filled 64% of them.

|improve this answer|||||
2

The answer below was originally an anonymous edit to K Dog's answer. I believe it offers the information asked for in a concise manner, so posting here to help those who want a more in-depth answer:

Although the Electoral College has the ability to elect a different president then what the states vote for (called being a Faithless Elector), there has never been so many faithless electors that the current President-elect was not able to be elected into office. It is generally assumed that the President-elect will be voted into office by the Electoral College.

|improve this answer|||||
  • 1
    If you're going to re-post a bad suggested edit, at least correct the grammar. – ArtOfCode Nov 12 '16 at 19:25

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .