Today all across the country, Electoral College members cast their votes to formally elect Barack Obama and Joe Biden President and Vice-President of the United States. This is the first step. Then on January 8th, the electoral votes are counted in a joint session of Congress.
Below is a quote from an article today in Congressional Quarterly.
"...[I]n a strictly technical sense, Obama hasn’t won anything yet — though the ritual casting of electoral votes in each of the 50 state capitals and the District of Columbia, scheduled to take place Monday, will begin the two-step process to certify the former Illinois senator’s election as the 44th president of the United States.
Obama won a clear-cut victory in the nation’s popular vote, with 53 percent to 46 percent for McCain. But presidential elections are decided by winning a majority of the 538 electoral votes, with each of the 50 states allotted a number equal to both its U.S. Senate seats plus all of its House seats. The District of Columbia, which has only a non-voting House delegate, is allotted three electoral votes under the 23rd Amendment to the Constitution.
There is no dispute that Obama also will win a firm majority of the 538 electoral votes. He should receive 365 to 173 for McCain, according to state-by-state tallies of the popular vote. The electors in each of these places — many of them Democratic and Republican activists, and nearly all selected by the candidates’ campaigns because of their loyalty — will convene to cast the votes that will make Obama’s election official.
These electoral votes will then be counted in a joint session of Congress on Jan. 8, two days after the 111th Congress convenes and 12 days before Obama will take the oath of office."
Even though most of us may have not taken note, for those who are members of the Electoral College, this must be a pretty exciting day.
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