Electoral College


Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
57th Electoral College
Monday, December 17, 2012

 
 
 

Proceedings of the 57th Electoral College | December 17, 2012

Information about the Electoral College - from the US National Archives





 
Pennsylvania's Electors

Pursuant to Chapter 1, Section 7 of Title 3, United States Code (62 Stat. 672 as amended), the Electoral College in Pennsylvania will convene at 12:00 P.M. in the Chambers of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, Main Capitol Building, Harrisburg, on Monday, December 17, 2012.

Unofficial election returns indicate that on Tuesday, November 6, 2012, the following individuals have been elected as Pennsylvania's Electors of President and Vice President:

Mark L. Alderman  
Montgomery County

Vincent J. Hughes
Philadelphia County

Cindy M. Bass 
Philadelphia County

Susan Golden Jacobson 
Philadelphia County

Richard Bloomingdale 
Dauphin County

Clifford B. Levine 
Allegheny County

C. Kim Bracey 
York County

Robert M. McCord
Montgomery County

James R. Burn Jr.
Allegheny County

Michael A. Nutter
Philadelphia County

Jay Costa 
Allegheny County

Lazar M. Palnick 
Allegheny County

Frank Dermody 
Allegheny County

Roxanne G. Pauline
Lackawanna County

Rich Fitzgerald 
Allegheny County

Jose Rosado
Lehigh County

Penny Gerber 
Montgomery County

Cynthia D. Shapira
Allegheny County

Amanda Green Hawkins 
Allegheny County

Joshua D. Shapiro 
Montgomery County

 

 




THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE:
ITS ORIGIN AND HISTORY

Contrary to popular belief the President and Vice President of the United States are not elected by a direct vote of the people. Technically they are elected by officials in each state who are called "electors." Their sole function is to cast, certify and transmit their votes for President and Vice President.

The electoral system was established by the framers of the U.S. Constitution. The electors, equal in number to the number of U.S. Senators and Representatives to which the state is entitled in Congress, were to meet "in their respective states, and vote by ballot for two persons." The person having the greatest number of votes for President, was to be President, if such number be a majority of the electors. If no persons have such majority, then the House of Representatives must immediately choose the president, by ballot from the three persons having the highest numbers of votes as President. A similar process is followed for the selection of the Vice President.

The name "electoral college" is usually applied to the body of presidential electors of a single state but it is also applied to the total of the 51 groups (the District of Columbia included) of presidential electors. According to Bouvier’s Law Dictionary, the term "electoral college" has no strict legal or technical meaning and being unknown to the Constitution and laws of the United States, its use is purely colloquial. Accordingly, the term is not clearly defined.

There are two principal stages connected with the choosing of electors; first, they are nominated in advance of the November presidential election; second, they are elected in the November presidential election. All ballots marked for the candidates for President and Vice President of a party or political body are counted as votes for each candidate for presidential elector of such party or political body. The U.S. Constitution forbids a member of congress or a federal officer from acting as an elector.

On or before the electors are required to meet, it is the duty of the Secretary of the Commonwealth to deliver to the electors certificates confirming their election. The Electoral College convenes on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December following the presidential election. The results of the Electoral College are reported to the Administrator of General Services, who then certifies copies to Congress.

The U.S. Constitution requires the electors to vote by ballot. While the Constitution does not require electors to vote as a unit, they usually do so. In the election of 1796, two Federalists electors were elected in Pennsylvania. One of the electors voted for Thomas Jefferson, who was a Democratic-Republican. Nevertheless, such a vote was legal, was uncontested, and was counted for Jefferson.

The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives meet in joint session, in the Hall of the House of Representatives on January 6, at 1:00 p.m. following every presidential election year, for the purpose of counting the electoral votes. The joint meeting of the two Houses may not be dissolved until the count of the electoral votes has been completed and the result is announced. The President of the U.S. Senate is the presiding officer. There are four tellers: two appointed by the House and two by the Senate.

The certificates of the electoral votes and the documents purporting to be certificates are opened by the President of the U.S. Senate and read by the tellers to the joint session. The result of the vote count is delivered by the President of the U.S. Senate to the joint session, thus naming the persons, if any, who have been elected President and Vice President of the United States. Thereafter, this pronouncement, together with a list of the votes, are entered on the journals of the two Houses of Congress.

The candidates for President and Vice President who receive the greatest number of electoral votes are declared elected, provided such number is at least a majority of the electoral votes (270 out of 538).

Under the Federal Constitution, the method of electing presidential electors is left to the states. From 1789 through 1836, various methods of electing electors were in use among the states.

Legislatures of many states elected the electors. Some states used the general-ticket method, under which a political party would receive all the electoral votes of a state if it had a plurality in the popular vote of the whole state. Other states used the district method, under which the voters of each district elected one or more electors. In some elections, a few states have used a combination of two of the methods described above. After 1836, electors were elected by popular vote, on a general ticket, in all but 5 states. The general-ticket is the one in use today.

The mysteries of the Electoral College has enabled Pennsylvania to play an unusually major role in determining who is President. In 1796, Thomas Jefferson defeated John Adams in Pennsylvania’s popular election by only 62 votes, but the Pennsylvania electors gave Jefferson 14 votes and Adams 1, though Adams did win the Electoral vote, 71 to 68.

In 1800, because of a mess in the State Legislature, Pennsylvania for the one time in its history had no popular election for President. Electors were named, however, and they gave Jefferson and Aaron Burr each 8 Pennsylvania votes and Adams and Charles Pinckney each 7 votes. The election ended 73 - 73 for Jefferson and Burr, and in the U.S. House of Representatives, Pennsylvania sided with Jefferson to give him the Presidency.

"In 1824, Andrew Jackson swept Pennsylvania’s popular election and won its 28 Electoral votes. As no man won a majority of the national electoral votes, the election once again went to the House of Representatives. Pennsylvania backed Jackson, but John Quincy Adams was named President.

In the modern era, the only time Pennsylvania’s electoral votes went to other than a major-party candidate was in 1912, when third party candidate (Progressive Party) Theodore Roosevelt won the popular election and carried the State’s 38 Electoral votes. Woodrow Wilson won the Presidency with 435 electoral votes to Roosevelt’s 88 and Republican William Taft’s 8.

Reprinted from "The Electoral College: Its Origin and Operation".
Published by the Senate of Pennsylvania, 1968





Modified Date: 03/22/2013 03:28 PM