How to Address & Refer to an (Official)-elect?

How do I address the vice-president elect?
—————-– S.P.

How do I address a governor-elect in the U.S.A.?
—————-– G. P.

How do I address a newly-elected judge who hasn’t taken the oath of office?
—————-– H.W.

Dear G.P., S.P. & H.W.,

The rule is that in the U.S.A., once elected one is immediately addressed (in writing or in a full introduction) as ‘the Honorable’:

—-The Honorable (Full Name)

The reason? One is entitled to be addressed as ‘the Honorable’ one has been elected in a general election.

But in the salutation or in conversation use …

—-Dear Mr./Ms./Dr./etc. (Surname):

… or whatever honorific to which he or she is entitled to – prior to the election.

So, if a governor had been a ‘senator’ or the vice-president had been a ‘representative/congressman/congresswoman’, then they would continue to be addressed in a salutation or conversation as ‘Senator (Name)’ or ‘Representative/Congressman/Congresswoman (Name)’ until they are sworn into the new office.

Use of Mr. Vice President, Governor (Name), Judge (Name), or (whatever special honorific comes with the new job) is reserved until he or she has taken their oath.

One would identify him or her as the vice-president-elect, governor-elect, judge-elect, or (fill in the blank)-elect … but these are not actually titles, offices, or positions. These are adjectives which describe his or her status and are used as an identification – they are not forms of address.

– Robert Hickey


Is a Mayor-Elect ‘Your Honor’?

Our mayor-elect is coming to our building today. If I have the occasion to address him personally, should I call him ‘Your Honor’ even though he will not take office for two months? Or is he still ‘Mr. (Surname)’?
——————-– Laurie in Chicago

Dear Laurie:

Address him/her as ‘Mr./Ms. (Surname)’ … or with whatever honorific to which he or she used prior to the election.

He will be addressed with the forms of address due a Mayor when he takes the oath and is sworn in. He is already ‘the Honorable (Full Name)’ on a letter because he has been elected office but won’t be addressed as ‘Your Honor’ or ‘Mayor (Surname)’ until he takes office.

– Robert Hickey

—-See these Posts on Types of Officials:
Candidate for Office
—-—-The Honorable, Use of
—-—-The Late, Use of
—-—-Pro Tempore

Not Finding Your Question Answered?

—-#1)  At right on desktops, at the bottom of every page on tablets and phones, is a list of all the offices, officials & topics covered on the site.

—-#2)  After checking the list and reading the posts, if you don’t see your question answered send me an e-mail. I am pretty fast at sending a reply: usually the next day or so (unless I am traveling.)  Note: I don’t have mailing or Email addresses for any of the officials and I don’t keep track of offices that exist only in history books.

—-#3)  If I think your question is of interest to others, I will post the question & answer – always changing the names and specifics.

— Robert Hickey

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