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Alabama's Doug Jones may not take office until 2018

Doug Jones was projected the winner of the Alabama special election Tuesday and he is sure to shake up the Senate, ea...

Posted: Dec 13, 2017 11:40 AM
Updated: Dec 13, 2017 11:40 AM

Doug Jones was projected the winner of the Alabama special election Tuesday and he is sure to shake up the Senate, eating into Republicans' slim majority ... but probably not before the new year.

Alabama's special election votes will have to be certified over the next few weeks before the winner can take the oath of office.

Winner will have to be certified over the next few weeks

Senate is expected to adjourn by December 22

This means Democrats looking to stop the tax bill making its way through Congress now won't be able to count on Jones to vote against it. Republicans will have current Sen. Luther Strange still in office. Strange will remain in the seat until the new senator is sworn into office.

Republicans currently hold a 52-48 majority in the Senate and after Jones is seated that will drop to 51-49. Vice President Mike Pence can cast tie-breaking votes.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reiterated that timeline to reporters Tuesday, saying, "Sen. Strange is going to be here through the end of this session."

Alabama election: Doug Jones scores stunning win over Moore

Why the delay?

Each of the 67 counties will have until December 22 to report the results to the Alabama secretary of state's office.

After receiving the results, the State Canvassing Board -- which includes the governor, secretary of state and attorney general -- will have until January 3 to certify them. Alabama law requires at least two of the three members to be present for the certification.

The secretary of state's office told CNN before the election they expect to certify the results between December 27-29. That is contingent upon every county reporting their results on time. The office noted that a delay from one of the 67 counties could delay final certification.

Assuming all results are reported on time, Alabama can notify the Senate immediately, which would allow the winner to be sworn in at that time.

The governor and secretary of state must sign and send the secretary of the Senate a certificate of election for the new senator, according to rule two of the Standing Rules of the Senate.

Unfortunately for Jones, the Senate should be out of session at that point. It is expected to be in recess on December 22 or earlier -- depending on how it handles the tax bill and funding for the federal government. It is scheduled to reconvene on January 3 -- the last day the state has to legally certify the results.

The one caveat is if congressional negotiators fail to reach a deal on government spending and Congress is forced to stay in session between Christmas and New Year's Day. While that is a possibility, chances are greater that Congress would agree to keep the government funded until sometime in early January, allowing lawmakers and their staffs to be home over the holidays.

The vice president, in his role as president of the Senate, typically swears in new senators. A surrogate can be designated, should he become unavailable to perform this duty. He will administer the oath, in which the senator-elect promises to "support and defend the Constitution."

Once the oath is taken, Jones will officially be a senator.

Note: An earlier version of this story was published before the election Tuesday.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 708779

Reported Deaths: 13226
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion966191721
Lake51761946
Allen39224672
Hamilton34549405
St. Joseph34157541
Elkhart27356432
Vanderburgh22081394
Tippecanoe21853212
Porter17935299
Johnson17544374
Hendricks16822310
Clark12697190
Madison12353337
Vigo12219244
Monroe11469166
LaPorte11162204
Delaware10366184
Howard9664211
Kosciusko9134114
Hancock7990139
Bartholomew7893155
Warrick7691155
Floyd7563176
Wayne6906198
Grant6844171
Boone6556100
Morgan6405138
Dubois6085117
Marshall5786108
Dearborn570376
Cass5685102
Henry5579101
Noble542683
Jackson493569
Shelby479495
Lawrence4342118
Gibson429089
Harrison428570
Clinton419753
Montgomery418086
DeKalb411184
Whitley380239
Huntington379880
Miami372865
Knox366689
Steuben365757
Putnam353160
Jasper350946
Wabash347878
Adams338052
Ripley334668
Jefferson313180
White308454
Daviess289499
Wells286481
Decatur279092
Fayette277262
Greene270785
Posey268833
Scott261153
LaGrange253670
Clay253544
Randolph235680
Washington231031
Spencer228031
Jennings225047
Fountain208845
Sullivan207942
Starke204752
Owen192356
Fulton192039
Jay186429
Carroll185920
Perry180736
Orange177853
Rush170724
Vermillion166043
Franklin165635
Tipton161043
Parke144616
Blackford133831
Pike130334
Pulaski113845
Newton104234
Brown100140
Crawford97614
Benton97113
Martin82915
Warren79715
Switzerland7698
Union69910
Ohio55811
Unassigned0408

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1054807

Reported Deaths: 18991
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1225191356
Cuyahoga1074592069
Hamilton783261168
Montgomery50176996
Summit45557909
Lucas40298765
Butler37768570
Stark31513895
Lorain24246473
Warren23910293
Mahoning20946583
Lake20067362
Clermont19459229
Delaware18085130
Licking16149207
Fairfield15757197
Trumbull15627460
Medina14922259
Greene14706236
Clark13660293
Wood12806185
Portage12431196
Allen11352229
Richland11067198
Miami10548214
Muskingum8717127
Wayne8594209
Columbiana8569226
Pickaway8439121
Marion8390135
Tuscarawas8387240
Erie7600154
Hancock6730123
Ross6707146
Geauga6553146
Ashtabula6530165
Scioto6295101
Belmont5634158
Union558447
Lawrence5470102
Jefferson5343147
Huron5314114
Darke5273121
Sandusky5189120
Seneca5139120
Washington5087107
Athens503856
Auglaize476284
Mercer471984
Shelby456590
Knox4397108
Madison423959
Putnam421799
Ashland413488
Fulton410567
Defiance404296
Crawford3883101
Brown386955
Logan374476
Preble371098
Clinton362160
Ottawa357978
Highland347459
Williams328674
Champaign321557
Jackson308551
Guernsey307549
Perry290549
Fayette278048
Morrow275939
Hardin264764
Henry264366
Coshocton259857
Holmes253499
Van Wert239262
Pike233831
Gallia233446
Adams229152
Wyandot227553
Hocking209759
Carroll189447
Paulding168838
Meigs141738
Noble132937
Monroe128941
Morgan106823
Harrison105636
Vinton81614
Unassigned02
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