2) Votes are tallied while officials from both parties (Democrat and GOP) are present.
3) Provided officials from both parties are present during the vote tallies and there are:
No credible accusations of fraud.
No software glitches.
Then the vote tallies are ratified.
4) If the vote margin between winner and loser is 0.5% or smaller, an automatic recount is required.
5) If the margin between the winner and loser is larger than 0.5%, but either candidate (or a 3rd candidate for that matter) wants to dispute the results, he or she can pay to have a recount performed. The cost if roughly $3 million per state.
6) Once the recount is completed, or if a recount is not necessary, the individual states formally declare the winner on December 14th when they officially cast their electoral college votes for him or her.
7) Then, in early January of the next year, the new congress meets to count the electoral college votes and formally declare the winner.
8) The new President is sworn into office on January 20th.