One Step Closer

There was all kinds of excitement on November 4th when Barack Obama and Joe Biden were elected as our future President and Vice-President. However, before the January 20th Inauguration, two more crucial steps have to take place.

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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plez... said…
i would've liked to have seen a bigger deal made of this historic day, because on december 15th, Barack Obama officially became the President-elect of the United States of America!
Suldog said…
Yeah, the electors are the real power. As you no doubt know, they are not legally bound to vote for anyone, and there have been instances wherein one or two electors have "jumped ship". Never enough to affect the outcome of an election in the modern era, of course, but the possibility still exists and nothing is official until the votes are cast and counted.

I was an elector once. Or, I should say, I was listed on the Massachusetts ballot as an elector, for the Libertarian candidate, the late Harry Brown. It was quite an honor to be asked by my party to hold such a position.
Mosilager said…
Wow, imagine some year where a lot of the electoral college doesn't vote as they are supposed to... would it lead to a constitutional crisis?
starry said…
Thanks for sharing this Anali.I never knew this.
Nina said…
That is pretty exciting stuff!!!
Lisa Johnson said…
plez - I agree. It would have been nice to see more of what happened around the country. I guess most news stations didn't find it exciting enough.

suldog - You really have done everything! Thank you for your service! That's pretty cool.

mosilager - That would be pretty wild. I imagine that it would lead to a crisis. Especially after this election. There'd be protests in the street like in Greece right now.

starry nights - You're welcome! ; )

nina - Thanks!

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