US election final result: When will states report final votes? When are they certified?

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Joe Biden emerged victorious in the US election, sailing into the Oval Office on the backs of more than 75 million Americans. Media organisations projected a Biden win this weekend as tabulated results from Pennsylvania gave him a concrete lead with 272 votes in the Electoral College. Although in-person voting took place nearly a week ago, counting continues, and ballots still have several stages left before the process ends.

When will the US report final election results?

Officials called the race last week but counting has not yet finished.

Many states sit on the verge of completion, with 98 percent of votes or more processed.

But it could take some time until electors close those last percentage points.

Potentially millions of remaining votes from states such as New York, California and others could give Mr Biden an even more pronounced popular vote win.

Some of these votes will come in a non-standard format, including provisional, large-print or braille, which may require some further processing.

These votes make up most of what Arizona – where Mr Biden currently leads Mr Trump by tens of thousands of ballots – has left.

State electors will not have provided a definite end date, and full results only come once they release their final totals.

When are votes certified?

Officials have called the election this year as recently tabulated votes showed a Trump victory out of reach in several key swing states.

Mr Biden has claimed victory with 272 Electoral College votes, and likely more to come, but the incumbent President stated he “has not been certified the winner of any states”.

Mr Trump is correct in his assertion, but it does not reduce his opponent’s victory.

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Vote certification is a process whereby states officially rubber-stamp the results.

The process cannot take place until tabulation has finished, and any remaining legal challenges have resolved.

Officials have to provide a deadline for this, which traditionally falls in November but can vary.

States declare their certified results once their constituent counties and cities have tabulated and reported their votes.

Governors or statewide officials then certify their electoral votes and electors tasked with casting them.

The final deadline for this to take place is December 14, and will “officially” declare the election for Mr Biden.

Some states, namely Arizona and Georgia, will likely have to recount their ballots, but this will not change much for Mr Biden, who needs neither to win.

Media organisations such as the Associated Press only call a race when one candidate has no possible route to victory.

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