Monday, November 3, 2008

In Honor of Election Day...

Did you know.... ?

How the 2008 President Will be Chosen

The next president will be chosen by the Electoral College, not by the popular vote. In 2004 Al Gore won the popular vote but lost the Electoral College vote to George Bush. That is why the US is a “Democratic Republic” and not a Democracy. In a Democracy, the candidate that gets the most votes wins. In 1787 the Electoral College was established so that the smaller states would have as much representation as the larger states. This group of individuals cast votes to decide who will be President and Vice President.

Each state gets as many Electors as they have Senators (2 per state) and Representatives (varies according to population, the more people, the more Representatives). Washington State has 2 Senators and 9 Representatives, so we have 11 Electors who will vote with the Electoral College. The total number of state Electors is 538 and a Presidential candidate must win 270 Electoral votes to win.

The Electors are people who are avid Democrats or Republicans including State Representatives or State Senators, political party leaders, or others who have a personal or political affiliation with the candidates. Federal Senators or Representatives are not eligible to be in the Electoral College.

Political parties nominate the Electors at their state conventions or by their political party’s central committee in each state.

On Election Day, the popular votes do not actually pick a candidate, but a group of Electors to represent their state in the Electoral College vote. Most states use a winner-take-all rule; all the state's Electoral votes will go to the winner of the popular vote in the state.

Some months before the election each political party puts together a slate of Electors, chosen by congressional district with the exception of the two at-large Senate slots. If the party's presidential candidate wins the popular vote in the state on Election Day, its Electors meet in the state capitol on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December. If not they stay home. (So if Obama/Biden gets the most votes in Washington State, the Democratic Party’s Electors will go to Olympia; if McCain/Palin get the most votes, the Republican party’s Electors will go to Olympia.)

(There is no federal law binding an Elector to vote according to the popular vote in his state. Some states do bind their Electors to do so, Washington does not. It does require by state law that Electors make a pledge as to who they are going to vote for. Unfortunately, these pledges, if violated, are not enforceable.)

The Washington State Democratic party chose 9 Electors at party caucuses throughout the state and 2 Electors at their State Convention in June. They also chose 11 alternate Electors. This list was sent to the Washington’s Secretary of State, Sam Reed. Interestingly enough, this list includes the first Muslim Elector ever chosen to the Electoral College, Jafar Sidduiqui of Lynnwood, Wa.

The Washington State Republican Party elected an Elector from each of Washington State’s Congressional Districts at their State Convention on May 30th and 31st, 2008. This list was also sent to Sam Reed’s office.

Electors will meet in a room in Olympia at noon on December 15th this year, and sit down at long tables. Governor Gregoire will greet them and the Secretary of State Sam Reed will make sure all of the proper procedures are followed. Roll will be taken. A Chairperson will be nominated and voted for. The electoral ballots will then be handed out and filled out. Electors will then sign the Certificate of Vote--actually they sign several copies of the document so there are back-ups. There are separate votes for President and for Vice-President. After being turned back in to the Secretary of State, his office will mail one copy of the Certificate of Vote to the Office of the President of the United States Senate. On January 5th, 2009, the President of the Senate will then open and tally these envelopes before a special joint-session of Congress

Only then we will know who the next president will be.
This post was written by my husband, Randy.


Grace said...

Thanks so much for this post Randy! It will give me an excellent jumping off point for school today - the election day edition of Silva Moose Academy. I pray your family is blessed today!


crallspace said...

And they insist, "Vote or Die!"

"Every vote counts!"

Voter apathy makes a lot more sense now.