THE ELECTORAL COUNT ACT
On January 6, 2021, the Senate and House of Representatives will convene in a joint session to count the the Electoral votes from each state. The procedures for counting these slates of Electors is governed by 3 U.S.C. 15. As referenced in the FAQ, the Senate and House play a role in determining which votes to count, especially if they receive more than one return that purport to be the official slate of Electors for a given state.
Under most circumstances, a state will only send one slate of Electors. If they do, Congress still plays a role determining whether or not those votes will be counted, as illustrated below.
The Electoral Count Act Visualized: One Slate
However, the law anticipates a situation in which Congress receives multiple, conflicting documents all purporting to be a state’s official Electoral vote. If that happens, the path to determine which of those votes count is even more complex:
The Electoral Count Act Visualized: Multiple Slates
An interactive version of this flowchart is available here, which allows the user to trace multiple paths from a slate’s arrival in Congress to the ultimate determination of which votes count.