Around the country electors will fulfill their constitutional responsibilities by casting their ballots for President of the United States. The individuals fulfilling this role were on the ballot on November 4, and were chosen by voters who cast popular votes for Senator Obama and Senator Joseph Biden. The 538 members of the Electoral College will meet in their state capitals and in Washington, D.C. The Constitution requires that electors meet the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December.
The Constitution allots the number of electors for each state according to the number of members of the House of Representatives and Senate, plus three electors for the nation’s capital. The electors are the voters who actually elect the President. The manner in which electors are selected is not specified in the Constitution so states have latitude in how they are picked as well as how they actually cast their ballots. In some states there will be ceremonies marking the vote while in others the proceeding will be low-key. Many states will webcast the proceeding.
The electors have two jobs: they must cast their ballots and sign six “Certificates of Vote” that certify their vote. The certificates are then mailed to the Vice President, in this instance Vice President Cheney in his role as President of the Senate, the National Archives, each state’s secretary of state and the chief judge of the nearest federal court. The latter is done just as a precaution if all other copies are lost. A joint session of Congress will be convened on January 6 at 1:00 p.m. during which time Vice President Cheney will open the certificates and declare the winner of the election. The final step in the election process if the inauguration, set for Tuesday January 20, 2009 at the U.S. Capitol.