[Ads-l] "Ascertainment" - a technical election term

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Nov 17 19:40:46 UTC 2020

> On Nov 17, 2020, at 12:47 PM, Andy Bach <afbach at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> I saw the headline
> GSA to Ascertain Biden as Presidential Election Winner
> and I thought that was an odd use of ascertain, which I think of more
> as discover rather than certify. A number of articles mention the fact
> that GSA has not made an "ascertainment"  or have the headline "What
> is ascertainment".
> Apparently it's in the 1963 Presidential Transition Act
> https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/STATUTE-78/pdf/STATUTE-78-Pg153.pdf
> The terms "President-elect" and "Vice-President-elect" as used in this
> Act shall mean such persons as are the apparent successful candidates
> for the office of President and Vice President, respectively, as
> _ascertained_ by the Administrator following the general elections
> held to determine the electors of President and Vice President in
> accordance with title 3, United States Code
> Though not as a noun.

I can imagine someone coming up with a YouTube rendition of “That’s Ascertainment” based on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6gX37d2eP8
(Where are Fred Astaire, Oscar Levant, Nanette Fabray when we need them?)

“The doubt, when the jury is out…”


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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