Numerous conspiratorial Twitter posts over the past week have indicated that Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris has not stepped down from her Senate seat because “she knows” something is wrong with the election results.
Only five of these tweets – including those by conservative writer Dinesh D’Souza and conservative activist Ryan Fournier – have garnered over 41,000 shares and over 172,000 likes.
Some have compared Ms. Harris's tenure to the resignation of former President Barack Obama from his Senate seat in mid-November 2008. However, it is not uncommon for Ms. Harris to stay in her position for a month after the election. In fact, Mr Obama's resignation was the earliest for an elected president or vice president to hold public office in the past 50 years.
Obama's own vice president, current President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr., stepped down from his Senate seat just five days before the January 2009 inauguration – "not because he had doubts about the election results," but because he wanted to reach a certain milestone, said Heath Brown, a public policy professor at John Jay College who studies the president's transitions.
Mr. Biden was sworn in for a seventh term in the Senate before stepping down in 2009. He was the youngest to reach this number and at the time the 14th longest-serving Senator in United States history.
Like Mr. Biden, Ms. Harris may have her own reasons to move on: California Governor Gavin Newsom is taking time to elect her successor, and she may have to cast votes – like last month at least temporarily blocking a candidate for that Federal Reserve Board of Governors.
Ms. Harris is also a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. "President Trump continues to make judicial nominations during Lame Duck and wants to attend the hearings," said Ross Baker, a professor at Rutgers University and an expert on the Senate.
In addition, experts said they were unaware of any set schedule or in-depth management requirement to leave their old posts.
President Trump ran his private business prior to his inauguration. The Indiana official website lists Vice President Mike Pence as governor until January 9, 2017, the day of his current governor's inauguration.
Former President George W. Bush resigned as governor of Texas in late December 2000, while Vice President Dick Cheney left Halliburton before the elections.
Former President Bill Clinton resigned as governor of Arkansas in late December 1992 and former Vice President Al Gore as senator in early January 1993.
Former President George H.W. Bush never stepped down from his previous post as Vice President of Ronald Reagan before taking up the top job. His own vice president, Dan Quayle, left the Senate in early January 1989.
Mr. Reagan and his predecessor, former President Jimmy Carter, had not been in office prior to their election. Carter's Vice President Walter Mondale resigned from the Senate in late December 1976.
Former President Richard Nixon was a private attorney prior to his election, and his first vice president, Spiro Agnew, resigned as governor of Maryland in January 1969.