We have gotten calls from a few people wanting answers as to why members of the media are referring to Joe Biden as President-Elect.
It's been a long tradition for media outlets to tabulate the votes and to project winners in elections. This is most often highlighted during the election for President of the United States.
The final projections are not official until all 50 states have certified their votes, the electoral college has cast their votes, and those votes have been counted during a joint session of Congress in January.
A projection by the media typically comes after an "election desk" calls enough states to reach 270 electoral votes. The election desk is made up of a group of people doing the math to determine that there is no other logical avenue that the outcome of an election can be flipped leading to the trailing candidate regaining the lead in that state or territory. Until that can be determined the media outlet will say that a state is "too close to call."
Once that work is completed within enough states to pass the threshold of 270 likely electoral votes, media outlets will project a winner of the election and begin to refer to the victor as "president-elect."
The Poynter Institute has a nice write up on what happens after election night and how the electoral college casts their votes. The networks have called the race for Joe Biden. Here’s what that means and what comes next.
The Associated Press has a write up on their website about how they determine when to call an election and for whom. EXPLAINER: Why AP called the 2020 election for Joe Biden
And, NBC has a write up explaining their methodology. NBC News Decision Desk: How we call races on election night 2020
President Trump is exercising his right to challenge the vote in a number of states. We'll continue to monitor his campaign as they work through that process and we will report the results of those legal challenges.
But as with tradition, until the counts in those states are found to be something else other than authentic, you should expect media outlets to continue to refer to Joe Biden as President-Elect just as they did when President Trump won in 2016, President Obama won in 2008, and President Bush won in 2000.