The Constitution doesn’t say much about the formal duties of the vice president, though one of the perks is announcing your re-election if you win a second term.
Vice President Joe Biden gets to do that today.
In his official capacity as president of the Senate, Biden will lead the joint session of Congress that will open, count and certify the 538 electoral votes cast by electors in state capitals last month to reflect the popular vote totals.
The pro forma event, which begins at 1 p.m. East Coast time, will confirm that Biden’s ticket, led by President Barack Obama, was re-elected with 332 electoral votes to 206 electoral votes for the Republican ticket of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. A 270-vote majority is needed to win. (The 12th Amendment requires separate ballots for president and vice president).
Eight years ago, Vice President Dick Cheney got to announce his re-election and that of his running mate, President George W. Bush.
“Dick Cheney of the state of Wyoming has received 286 votes” for vice president, the same number Bush received for president, and “this announcement shall be a sufficient declaration of the persons elected president and vice president of the United States,” Cheney said during the joint session eight years ago.
Interested in what an electoral vote-counting session is like? Here’s a link to the previous session in January 2009, courtesy of C-Span’s video archive.