Electoral College casts Washington’s 12 votes for president, vice president
December 17, 2012
NEW — 10 p.m. Dec. 17, 2012
Washington’s Electoral College cast the state’s 12 votes for president and vice president Monday for Barack Obama and Joe Biden.
Each state is afforded the same number of electors equal to the number of senators and representatives a state has in Congress. Washington possesses 12 electoral votes, one from each congressional district and two at-large electors. Democrats chose the electors from the state’s 10 congressional districts at caucuses in May, and chose the at-large electors at the state Democratic Party convention in June.
Obama and Biden received 56.16 percent of votes in Washington. Republican Mitt Romney and running mate Paul Ryan pulled in 41.29 percent statewide.
The dozen Electoral College members voted in the State Reception Room at the Legislative Building in Olympia.
“The Electoral College is a key step in how America chooses its president and vice president,” Secretary of State Sam Reed said in a statement. “While it lacks the attention and excitement of last November’s popular election, the Electoral College vote carries the same impact.”
Monday marked the date when electors meet in each state to cast votes for president and vice president. In every state except Maine and Nebraska, the winner of the popular vote in a state wins all electoral votes in the state.
“I am honored to bear witness today to the election of President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden,” Gov. Chris Gregoire said in a statement. “This ceremony, as with Electoral College votes across the country, reflects our dedication to the democratic process and commitment to open and transparent government.”
In Washington, state law requires electors to cast ballots for the winning party’s ticket with a fine of $1,000 for being a “faithless” elector.
Officials created the law after 1976 Electoral College member Mike Padden voted for Ronald Reagan, even though Republican nominee, incumbent President Gerald Ford, secured Washington’s electoral votes in the 1976 presidential election.
Once Washington’s electors sign the certificate of vote, the document is then mailed to Biden’s office and the U.S. archivist. Congress convenes in a joint session Jan. 6 to count the Electoral College votes.
Obama is expected to be inaugurated privately Jan. 20, a Sunday, and then in a public ceremony the next day.