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Published on October 29, 2020 12:49 AM

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What happens if Joe Biden wins the election by winning at least 270 Electoral College votes but dies before he can take office and be sworn in?

What if a winner dies after the Electoral College has voted, but before Congress has certified the vote?

After the Electoral College votes, Congress must still convene on Jan. 6 to certify the results. If a presidential candidate won a majority of electoral votes and then died, it is not entirely clear how Congress would resolve the situation.

The Constitution's 20th Amendment says the vice president-elect becomes president if the president-elect dies before Inauguration Day. But it's an open legal question whether a candidate formally becomes the "president-elect" after winning the Electoral College vote, or only after Congress certifies the count.

What happens if a president-elect dies or becomes incapacitated after Congress has certified the result?

Under the U.S. Constitution, a president-elect is sworn in on Jan. 20, Inauguration Day, two weeks after Congress certifies the result. If the president-elect died, the vice president-elect would be sworn in on Jan. 20.

This is clear so in this case, Kamala Harris would become president for the full term.