State’s presidential electors to meet Dec. 17 in Olympia

Bet you thought this was already done, didn’t you.

OLYMPIA…The 12 members of Washington’s Electoral College will gather in Olympia on Dec. 17 to cast their votes for the Democratic ticket of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden.


The state’s Electoral College will vote at noon in the State Reception Room of the Legislative Building. The event is expected to take 30-45 minutes. Secretary of State Sam Reed will convene the gathering and the electors’ chair will preside over the balloting.


“The upcoming Electoral College vote is a key part of our nation’s presidential election process,” Reed said. “The first step was when voters in Washington and the rest of the nation had their voices heard in this November’s election. The next step is when our state’s Electoral College members cast their votes for president and vice president based on the majority of Washington voters.”  


Each state has a number of electors equal to the number of senators and representatives it has in the U.S. Congress. Of Washington’s 12 presidential electors, one is from each of the state’s 10 congressional districts. Those 10 were selected at congressional district caucuses last May. The two at-large electors were chosen at the state Democratic Party convention in Seattle last June.


The 12 electors submitted by the state Democratic Party are:

1st District: Grifynn Clay of Snohomish;

2nd District: Dave Gossett of Mountlake Terrace;

3rd District: Kathleen Lawrence of Vancouver;

4th District: George Fearing of Kennewick;

5th District: Rick Lloyd of Spokane Valley;

6th District: Gail Kirk of Tacoma;

7th District: Maria Ehsan of Seattle;

8th District: Elizabeth Satiacum of Olympia;

9th District: Georgia Spencer of Seattle; and

10th District: Harvey Brooks of University Place.                      

At-large electors are Heather Fralick of Shoreline and Alec Stephens of Seattle.     


Space at the Electoral College event is limited, so media outlets planning to cover it are asked to RSVP with the Office of Secretary of State’s Communications Director, David Ammons, at (360) 902-4140, or Deputy Communications Director Brian Zylstra at (360) 902-4173 Television crews are asked to be set up by 11:45 a.m.


Dec. 17 is the date when electors meet in each of the states to cast votes for president and vice president. In all states but two (Maine and Nebraska), the winner of the popular vote in that state wins all of the electoral votes in that state.


In Washington, state law requires the winning party’s electors to cast ballots for their ticket with a fine of $1,000 for being a “faithless” elector. This law was created after 1976 Electoral College member Mike Padden voted for Ronald Reagan even though Republican nominee Gerald Ford had secured Washington’s electoral votes in that year’s presidential election.


After Washington’s electors sign the “Certificate of Vote” on Dec. 17, the document will be mailed to Vice President Biden’s office and the U.S. Archivist. On Jan. 6, Congress will convene in a joint session to count the votes cast by the Electoral College. Obama will be inaugurated as president Jan. 20 in a private swearing-in ceremony. Because the 2013 presidential Inauguration Day falls on a Sunday, the public inauguration ceremony will take place Jan. 21. 


Obama defeated Republican nominee Mitt Romney 50.9 percent to 47.4 percent in the nationwide popular vote on Nov. 6. Obama is estimated to have amassed 332 electoral votes compared to Romney’s 206. Obama needed 270 electoral votes to win the presidential election.


Obama gathered 56.16 percent of the vote in Washington, received 1,755,396 votes. Romney and running mate Paul Ryan pulled in 1,290,670 votes (41.29 percent). 


About Scott Hunter

Editor of The Star newspaper in Grand Coulee, observer of life, history, patterns in things that matter.
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