Assumption Of Power After President-Elect Assasination

We recently received this question (or a variation several times) and honestly we did NOT know the answer however after researching we did locate the information.

Q: Who would assume the presidency IF the candidate elected should be assassinated PRIOR to taking the oath of office and assuming the duties of the President?

Here is the information.  Although lengthy it will answer the questions raised
BJ 'n Cindy


CRS Report for Congress
Order Code RL31761

Presidential and Vice Presidential Succession: Overview
and Current Legislation

Updated September 27, 2004

full text located here

On page 6 paragraph 2

Section 3 of the 20th Amendment, ratified in 1933, clarified one detail of
presidential succession procedure by declaring that, if a President-elect dies before being inaugurated, the Vice President-elect becomes President-elect and is
subsequently inaugurated.

NOW about the designation of the "President Elect"

information below is from the National Archives and Records Adminitration.  Specifically from

The vote of the people DOES NOT create a president elect it is done by the electoral college.

The Electoral College was established by the founding fathers as a compromise between election of the president by Congress and election by popular vote. The electors are a popularly elected body chosen by the States and the District of Columbia on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November (November 4, 2008). The Electoral College consists of 538 electors (one for each of 435 members of the House of Representatives and 100 Senators; and 3 for the District of Columbia by virtue of the 23rd Amendment). Each State's allotment of electors is equal to the number of House members to which it is entitled plus two Senators. The decennial census is used to reapportion the number of electors allocated among the States.

The slates of electors are generally chosen by the political parties. State laws vary on the appointment of electors. The States prepare a list of the slate of electors for the candidate who receives the most popular votes on a Certificate of Ascertainment. The Governor of each State prepares seven original Certificates of Ascertainment. The States send one original, along with two authenticated copies or two additional originals to the Archivist of the United States at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) by registered mail. The Certificates of Ascertainment must be submitted as soon as practicable, but no later than the day after the meetings of the electors, which occur on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December (December 15, 2008). The Archivist transmits the originals to NARA's Office of the Federal Register (OFR). The OFR forwards one copy to each House of Congress and retains the original.

The electors meet in each State on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December (December 15, 2008). A majority of 270 electoral votes is required to elect the President and Vice President. No Constitutional provision or Federal law requires electors to vote in accordance with the popular vote in their State.

The electors prepare six original Certificates of Vote and annex a Certificate of Ascertainment to each one. Each Certificate of Vote lists all persons voted for as President and the number of electors voting for each person and separately lists all persons voted for as Vice President and the number of electors voting for each person.

If no presidential candidate wins a majority of electoral votes, the 12th Amendment to the Constitution provides for the presidential election to be decided by the House of Representatives. The House would select the President by majority vote, choosing from the three candidates who received the greatest number of electoral votes. The vote would be taken by State, with each State delegation having one vote. If no Vice Presidential candidate wins a majority of electoral votes, the Senate would select the Vice President by majority vote, with each Senator choosing from the two candidates who received the greatest number of electoral votes.

Specific 2008 election dates of interest from

November 4, 2008

General Election
Registered voters in each State and the District of Columbia vote for President and Vice President. They cast their vote by selecting a pair of candidates listed on a single Presidential/Vice Presidential ticket. By doing so, they also choose slates of Electors to serve in the Electoral College. Forty-eight of the fifty States and the District of Columbia are "winner-take-all" (ME and NE are the exceptions).

Mid-November thru December 15, 2008

Transmission of Certificates of Ascertainment to NARA
The Ascertainment lists the names of the electors appointed and the number of votes cast for each person. The States prepare seven originals authenticated by the Governor's signature and the State seal. One original and two certified copies are sent to the Federal Register (the remaining six are attached to the electoral votes at the State meetings). The Governors must submit the certificates "as soon as practicable," after their States certify election results. They should be transmitted no later than December 15 (but Federal law sets no penalty for missing the deadline).

December 9, 2008

Date for Determination of Controversy as to Appointment of Electors
States must make final determinations of any controversies or contests as to the appointment of electors at least six days before December 15 meetings of electors for their electoral votes to be presumptively valid when presented to Congress. Determinations by States' lawful tribunals are conclusive, if decided under laws enacted prior to election day.

December 15, 2008

Meetings of Electors and Transmission of Certificates of Vote to NARA
The electors meet in their State to select the President and Vice President of the United States. No Constitutional provision or Federal law requires electors to vote in accordance with the popular vote in their States. NARA's web site lists the States that have laws to bind electors to candidates. The electors record their votes on six "Certificates of Vote," which are paired with the six remaining Certificates of Ascertainment. The electors sign, seal and certify packages of electoral votes and immediately send one set of votes to the President of the Senate and two sets to the Archivist. The Federal Register preserves one archival set and holds the reserve set subject to the call of the President of the Senate to replace missing or incomplete electoral votes.

December 24, 2008

Deadline for Receipt of Electoral Votes at NARA
The President of the Senate and the Archivist should have the electoral votes in hand by December 24, 2008 (States face no legal penalty for failure to comply). If votes are lost or delayed, the Archivist may take extraordinary measures to retrieve duplicate originals.

On or Before January 3, 2009

Transmission of Certificates of Ascertainment to Congress
As the new Congress assembles, the Archivist transmits copies of the Certificates of Ascertainment to Congress. This generally occurs in late December or early January when the Archivist and/or representatives from the Federal Register meet with the Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House. This is, in part, a ceremonial occasion. Informal meetings may take place earlier.

January 6, 2009

Counting Electoral Votes in Congress
The Congress meets in joint session to count the electoral votes (Congress may pass a law to change the date). The President of the Senate is the presiding officer. If a Senator and a House member jointly submit an objection, each House would retire to its chamber to consider it. The President and Vice President must achieve a majority of electoral votes (270) to be elected. In the absence of a majority, the House selects the President, and the Senate selects the Vice President. If a State submits conflicting sets of electoral votes to Congress, the two Houses acting concurrently may accept or reject the votes. If they do not concur, the votes of the electors certified by the Governor of the State would be counted in Congress.

January 20, 2009 at Noon

The President elect takes the Oath of Office and becomes the U.S. President.