Monday, December 15, 2008

American Presidential Election Held... Today?

We're electing the president of the United States today. Really. From today's Detroit News:

...And the 2.88 million Michigan voters who mistakenly thought they were voting for Barack Obama on Nov. 4 were actually casting a ballot for Ida DeHaas, a 73-year-old dog breeder and great grandmother from Belmont, and 16 others who are mostly political unknowns.

It might also come as a surprise to the more than 125 million Americans who took part in the presidential contest six weeks ago that the winner hasn't yet been officially decided.

That's because the only vote that really counts is the one that occurs today when 538 members of the Electoral College gather in the 50 state capitals and in Washington, D.C., to vote.
Once the Electoral College votes today -- Obama is slated to get 365 votes and Republican Sen. John McCain will receive 173 -- the results will be transmitted to Washington. On Jan. 8, Vice President Dick Cheney will open and certify the results before a joint session of Congress and only then will the president be officially confirmed. Obama will be sworn in as president on Jan. 20.

What exactly IS the Electoral College? According to the official website,
The Electoral College, administered by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), is not a place. It is a process that began as part of the original design of the U.S. Constitution. The Electoral College was established by the founding fathers as a compromise between election of the president by Congress and election by popular vote. The people of the United States vote for the electors who then vote for the President.
Americans would benefit from a better understanding of all our national institutions and practices. Read up, kids. Then, when someone says Barack Obama was elected President of the United States on November 4, 2008, you will know better. Won't you?

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