2012 Presidential Race

How does the Electoral Process work

October 26, 2012

The U.S. National Archives have created a webpage that explains the Electoral College. The Electoral College is not a place but is the process by which the President and Vice President are elected.

The Electoral College is comprised of 538 electors. Each state has one elector for each congressman and senator that they have. Under the 23rd Amendment, the District of Columbia is allocated 3 electors. A majority of 270 electoral votes is required to elect the President.

When you vote for President, you are actually voting for the electors chosen by the candidate’s political party, but state laws vary on how the electors are selected and what their responsibilities are.

Most states have a “winner-take-all” system that awards all electors to the winning presidential candidate. However, Maine and Nebraska each have a variation of “proportional representation.”

There is no Constitutional provision or Federal law that requires Electors to vote according to the results of the popular vote in their States. Some States require Electors to cast their votes according to the popular vote. These pledges fall into two categories—Electors bound by State law and those bound by pledges to political parties.

Florida is a combination of both.

In Florida, the Governor nominates the presidential electors of each political party. The state executive committee of each political party shall by resolution recommend candidates for presidential electors and deliver a certified copy thereof to the Governor before September 1 of each presidential election year. The Governor shall nominate only the electors recommended by the state executive committee of the respective political party.

Each such elector shall be a qualified elector of the party he or she represents and has taken an oath that he or she will vote for the candidates of the party that he or she is nominated to represent.

The names of the presidential electors shall not be printed on the general election ballot, but the names of the actual candidates for President and Vice President for whom the presidential electors will vote if elected shall be printed.

After the presidential election, your governor prepares a “Certificate of Ascertainment” listing all of the candidates who ran for President in your state along with the names of their respective electors. The Certificate of Ascertainment also declares the winning presidential candidate in your state and shows which electors will represent your state at the meeting of the electors in December of the election year.

The meeting of the electors takes place on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December after the presidential election. The electors meet in their respective states, where they cast their votes for President and Vice President on separate ballots. The state’s electors’ votes are recorded on a “Certificate of Vote,” which is prepared at the meeting by the electors.

Each state’s electoral votes are counted in a joint session of Congress on the 6th of January in the year following the meeting of the electors. Members of the House and Senate meet in the House chamber to conduct the official tally of electoral votes.

The Vice President, as President of the Senate, presides over the count and announces the results of the vote. The President of the Senate then declares which persons, if any, have been elected President and Vice President of the United States.

The President-Elect takes the oath of office and is sworn in as President of the United States on January 20th in the year following the Presidential election.

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