The Electoral College
The 2012 Electoral College will be held on December 17, 2012 at 12 noon in the State Captial Reception Room. Overflow viewing will also be available in the Senate gallery. The event is open to the public.
The Electoral College was established by the framers of the Constitution as a compromise between election of the President by Congress and election of the President by popular vote.
Each presidential ticket provides a list of electors prior to the presidential election. When voters of a state vote for President and Vice President on the General Election ballot, they are actually selecting the slate of electors that will represent the state in the
Electoral College. The electors have pledged to vote for the nominees of their party. The Electoral College is a process, not a place or college. A total of 538 electors nationwide vote on the President and Vice President of the United States. A candidate must win 270 of the 538 total electoral votes to become President. If no presidential ticket receives a majority of electoral votes, the U.S. House of Representatives elects the President and the U.S. Senate elects the Vice President.
The number of electors allocated to each state is based on the state’s Congressional delegation: one for each representative in the U.S. House of Representatives and one for each senator in the U.S. Senate. Because Washington State now has 10 representatives in the U.S. House of Representatives, plus two senators, Washington has 12 electoral votes in the Electoral College.
The political parties generally select the electors through their caucus and convention system, which usually occur in the spring of the presidential year. The U.S. Constitution states, “no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.”
48 states, including Washington, use a “winner-take-all” system; the presidential ticket that receives the most votes in the state are entitled to all of Washington’s electoral votes. For example, if the Democratic nominees for President and Vice President receive the most votes in Washington’s 2012 General Election, then the 12 Democratic electors
will come to Olympia on December 17, 2012, to cast their votes for the Democratic nominees, Barack Obama and Joe Biden. Likewise, if the Republican nominees for President and Vice President receive the most votes in Washington’s 2012 General Election, then the 12 Republican electors
will come to Olympia on December 17, 2012, to cast their votes for the Republican nominees, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.