I was honored to attend the 56th meeting of North Carolina’s Electoral College today.
Here are some things I learned:
1. North Carolina did not participate in the first Electoral College. Our state constitution was not ratified until 10 months after George Washington was elected.
2. There are 15 electors for North Carolina – one for each congressional district and two at large.
3. Electors have to be 21 years old and offer their names for nomination through their political party, which vets the names and submits the final list to the Secretary of State during the summer prior to the November presidential election. Electors receive training in procedure and election law.
4. We vote in November to elect electors, not the President. The electors actually elect the president and vice president and come from the victorious party. Since Romney/Ryan had the most votes in NC, all electors today were Republicans. Had Obama/Biden won, they would have been Democrats.
5. North Carolina is a winner-take-all state so all of our votes are cast for the candidate who won the state, in th is case – Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.
6. The Electoral College is controlled by constitutional, federal and state law. Pursuant to NC statutes, electors take an oath of office issued by the Chief Justice of the NC Supreme Court, elect officers – President, Secretary, President Teller and Vice President Teller. One of the electors nominates the candidate for US President (this year – Art Pope) and US Vice President (this year James Proctor). The ballots, which look like certificates, are passed around and each elector fills it out and signs it. The ballots are counted and the winners are announced. Secretary of State (in this case, Elaine Marshall) certifies the results. Each elector has to sign 6 copies of the certification. All this stuff is sent to Washington to make it official. Electoral Colleges in all the states are meeting today.
7. My colleague and Carolina Journal reporter, Barry Smith will have a complete report on the event later today or tomorrow. Be sure to check it out for more information.
8. 7. Garry Terry, elector at large from Ahoskie is a very good friend for inviting me to be his guest today. Thank you Garry for this honor! I was very proud to stand with you in the House Chamber of the Old State Capital.
9. And finally, in this world of tweets, instant messaging, emails and electronic signatures, there is something special about citizens coming together to exercise what our forefathers intended – preserving a government that guarantees freedom and liberty, an electoral process that works – and sealing it with signatures of fellow citizens in long-standing traditions.