On December 17 in the State Senate Chamber the seven Electors for the State of Connecticut met and cast their ballots for President and Vice President of the United States. Spoiler Alert: All seven presidential ballots were cast for President Obama and all seven vice presidential ballots went to Vice President Biden.
Although there was no suspense in the outcome of the election, there was a certain grandeur in the ceremony orchestrated by Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, the Constitutional Officer in charge of elections. As Secretary Merrill explained to the reasonably full spectator galleries, by statute the presidential electors are required to meet "on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December" to cast their ballots for President and Vice President. The electors individually cast ballots for each office in a curious antique ballot box said to have been manufactured with wood from the Charter Oak.
The Electoral College is enshrined in the United States Constitution Article II, Section 1 which allows each state electors equal in number to that state's representation in both houses of Congress. "The Electors shall meet in their respective States and vote by Ballot for two Persons, of whom one at least shall not be an Inhabitant of the same State with themselves." As I recall, that last requirement was why Dick Cheney had to leave Texas and move back to Wyoming.
There is no direction in the Constitution as to how an Elector is required to vote. That gives rise to the prospect of "the Faithless Elector", who cast his or her vote differently than those of us who voted for them decided on the first Tuesday of November when we thought we were voting for President. There have been historic instances, and at least in 2000 I was hoping for more than a few "Faithless Electors" to emerge.
In Connecticut by statute we require fidelity: "Each elector shall cast his ballots for the candidates under whose name he ran on the official election ballot..." We also require replacement electors to "cast his ballots for the candidates to whom the elector he is replacing was pledged."
After the balloting certificates required by the Constitution were signed and sealed with wax and the Connecticut seal.
This same democratic ceremony was playing out in all fifty states and the District of Columbia.
All the certificates are sent to the President of the Senate where they will be opened before both houses of Congress and counted. If the November election results stand President Obama and Vice President Biden will each receive 332 votes to 206 for Romney and Ryan. But beware those Faithless Electors....