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Electoral College Electors Vote

       The Voter         LWV SLP Newsletter: December 2020

What Happens Next?
adapted from the LWVUS web site

Election Day has come and gone, votes have been cast, and the final votes are being counted. This year, millions chose to cast ballots by mail, or took advantage of the early voting in their area, and even registered at the polls on Election Day.  Now that every envelope has been sealed, ballots have been delivered, boxes have been bubbled, and “I Voted” stickers have been collected, what happens next? Life after the election seemed to be lightyears ahead last week, and even today it feels like a fever dream.  

There is going to be a lot taking place over the next few days as ballots are counted and we must be patient and let the democratic process take place. Part of this process will be counting how many Electoral College votes each candidate gets as states tally up individual popular vote numbers. The Electoral College has been a part of our democratic process since the start, but what does it really do and what can we expect this year?

What's going on here and what does it mean? Is THIS democracy?

The Electoral College was a "compromise"

The Electoral College is a constitutional process established by the founding fathers in Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution. In the process, a group of presidential electors from each state are appointed and come together every four years to elect the President of the United States

The Electoral College consists of 538 total members and electors are apportioned according to the number of congressional seats of each state (two Senators plus the number of House members).  

The Electoral College was created as a “compromise” created through the 12th Amendment of the Constitution, in order to elect the President through a system of electors rather than the popular vote in order to address fears small states (think Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Delaware) had about larger states deciding the outcome of the election. The rationale behind it goes much deeper and is shrouded in racist ideas surrounding the three-fifths compromise and slavery.

On election night, as people cast individual ballots, those votes are then counted and state popular vote totals are then used to distribute Electoral College votes to the candidates. The candidate that reaches 270 votes is the winner.  

Every state operates differently

On election night, you're probably familiar with watching TV and seeing the various maps show states across the country turning blue or red. The rules around the Electoral College are not always uniform. This applies to both how electoral votes are distributed and rules that bound electors in the state. In Nebraska and Maine, for example, electors are split by congressional district. In these states, the winner of the popular vote in the state gets two electoral college votes, and then one vote is assigned to the winner of each congressional district. For the most part, states follow a "winner takes all" system where the winner of the popular vote wins all the Electoral College votes. Additionally, states’ electors are bound by different rules as well. 

State governments mandate rules for electors and how they should vote. In 32 states, electors are legally bound to vote for their states’ popular vote winner in the electoral college. An elector who diverges from their rules and casts a vote for the candidate they are not pledged to is known as a "faithless elector". Faithless electors are rather rare and have not made enough of an impact to change the outcome of an election.  

Electors meet "the first Monday following the second Wednesday of December" to cast their different votes

The electors meet and cast separate votes on paper ballots for president and vice president. Following this, the results are delivered to the President of the U.S. Senate, and then on January 6, 2021, the 117th Congress will count and officially announce the results in a joint session. 

While these procedures are not as well known to the public, they are a constitutionally mandated process that happens every four years. In the event of an Electoral College tie or uncertainty, Congress, specifically the House of Representatives, will cast votes to select the new President and Vice President. 

The Electoral College process is not one that will be fully complete in a day, or even a week. It will take time for states to count all ballots and finalize the numbers. Electors will then meet, certify their votes as electors, and finally deliver them to Congress. It is important that we understand how thorough this process is, and where it comes from. Being informed beyond Election Day can be a source of empowerment for many folks across the country and provide clarity and understanding. Whether you're a voter, an electoral organizer, or are looking to be more informed on election night, a strong understanding of the electoral college is a good way to start.   



December Board Meeting 
Date:  Thursday, December 3, 2020
Time: 7-8:30 p.m.
Location: Zoom
Address:  
https://zoom.us/j/91544066317
Our local League's board meets the first Thursday of each month.  Meetings start at 7 p.m. and usually last until 8:30 p.m.  Through the rest of 2020, board meetings will be held on Zoom. 

You do not need to be a board member to attend this or any board meeting.  All LWV SLP members are welcome to attend part or all of the meeting. Unable to attend? Let us know your concerns. We are your board and are here in part to serve you. There are vacancies on the board. Please let us know if you are interested in filling one of them!  Serving on the board is a good way to get more involved and, in this way, make a difference.

December Unit Meeting:
Lively Issues

 
Date:  Thursday, December 17, 2020
Time: 7-9:00 p.m.
Location: Zoom
Address:  
https://zoom.us/j/91544066317
What are LWV SLP's priorities? What has our local League intended to accomplish? Have we made progress toward achieving our stated goals? Has the world changed in a way requiring us to change as well? Are we inline with the priorities of LWVMN and LWVUS?  These are the lively issues we will be discussing.  Bring your thoughts and concerns with the plan to share them with the rest of us.
November Unit Meeting in Review

Electoral College
hosted by 

LWV West Metro Alliance 

Worried about "faithless Electors"? It's happened before, as recently as 2016 and in our own state. In fact, there is a lot to worry about in the unique system that we have been operating with almost as long as we have been a nation.  What's up with that? In an attempt to find an answer to that provocative question, the LWV West Metro Alliance held a timely talk Saturday morning, November 21 which we used as our local League's unit meeting and program in November thanks to Barb Person's urging.

The West Metro Alliance includes eight local Leagues: Brooklyn Park-Osseo-Maple Grove, Crystal-NewHope-East Plymouth, Edina, Golden Valley, Minnetonka-Eden Prairie-Hopkins, St. Louis Park, South Tonka & Wayzata-Plymouth.  As one would expect from a multi-League event, attendance was good. 

The program's speaker was CMAL Chair, Karen Schaffer whose impressive credentials include the following: Georgetown University School of Foreign Service-B.S.; Johns Hopkins University-MAT; University of Minnesota Law School-JD; Former high school social studies teacher (Bloomington, MN); Former assistant staff counsel-Metropolitan Council; Retired Assistant Dakota County Attorney (26 years).  In addition to explaining how the Electoral College works (or in the eyes of some, doesn't work), Schaffer shared some of the Electoral College history and potential changes that could be made.  Also covered with the LWVUS position on using the popular vote to select that president, which would mean eliminating the Electoral College.  Good idea...or not? Schaffer shared reasons given for changing and for not changing. Though the LWVUS position is clear, attendees were left to decide for ourselves.

The talk was recorded for those who were unable to attend or for those who would like to see it again.  An outline of the talk was also made available. Contact Barb Person, our local League host for this event, if you are interested in a copy of that thorough outline.  When the recording is available, I will put it on our website.
LWVUS Position on the Electoral College:

< one person, one vote >

The League of Women Voters of the United States believes that the direct-popular-vote method for electing the President and Vice-President is essential to representative government. The League of Women Voters believes, therefore, that the Electoral College should be abolished. We support the use of the National Popular Vote Compact as one acceptable way to achieve the goal of the direct popular vote for election of the president until the abolition of the Electoral College is accomplished. The League also supports uniform voting qualifications and procedures for presidential elections. The League supports changes in the presidential election system--from the candidate selection process to the general election.  We support efforts to provide voters with sufficient information about candidates and their positions, public policy issues and the selection process itself. The League supports  action to ensure that the media, political parties, candidates, and all levels of government achieve these goals and provide that information.

Statement of Position on Selection of the President, as Announced by National Board, January 1970, Revised March 1982, Updated June 2004 and Revised by the 2010 Convention.

For more on the Electoral College from LWVUS, see What Happens Next? on the LWVUS web site.
ERA MN: Coming Next!

During the ERA Minnesota Zoom meeting on Saturday, November 7, attendees were treated to and inspired by the irrepressible enthusiasm of Betty Folliard. ERA is so close! Betty tells us. Those interested in helping make this vision a reality should check out the ERA Minnesota web site (tap green link to travel to that site) where suggestions for ways to get involved abound.
In Minnesota ERA MN is organizing, educating and advocating for: 
  • an Equal Rights Amendment added into our own Minnesota Constitution and
  • the U.S. Senate to extend the arbitrary deadline for the Federal ERA, allowing the final 3 states to complete ratification!  Last state to ratify* was VA - Jan 15, 2020!
"Equality under the law shall not be abridged or denied on account of gender."
Language of the proposed MN State ERA

"Equality Of rights under the law shall not be denied ro abridged by the United States of any state on account of sex."
Language of the proposed Federal ERA 
ERA Minnesota is a coalition of activists & organizations dedicated to passing an Equal Rights Amendment into our state & national constitutions.
LWV SLP Schedule Through the End of 2020
Summary of the 2020:
 
  • December
    • December 3: Board Meeting Zoom--Deb Brinkman, host
    • December 17: Unit meeting; Lively Issues--Deb Brinkman, host
WOMEN VOTE, WOMEN WIN

NWHM LAUNCHES WOMEN VOTE, WOMEN WIN INITIATIVE
On the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, the National Women’s History Museum launched Women Vote, Women Win, a new non-partisan initiative designed to honor the legacy of all of the women who fought for the right to vote.
Initiative highlights include additional “Determined to Rise” and other educational programming and events throughout the fall, including the publication of a compilation of essays in late 2020; a robust compilation of voter resources and resources on the 19thAmendment on womenshistory.org and our companion site dedicated to the fight for the vote, crusadeforthevote.org; and a digital campaign video series asking women to share why they vote, and social media assets for users to promote their participation in the campaign.

The Museum will also engage members of its National Coalition and other key partners to jointly amplify efforts and programming related to voting and the 19th Amendment, including a partnership with NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises to provide voting resources in Spanish through its 
Decisión 2020 initiative.
The LWV SLP Facebook page has a printable calendar that shows important meeting days and times. Plan to check the FB calendar often for additions and deletions to the monthly schedule.
FB Calendar
Learn More about LWVMN and LWVUS
Keep current on LWVMN and LWVUS activity; check their Web sites frequently for positions adopted and for volunteer opportunities and to make donations.
League of Women Voters MN
League of Women Voters US
Not yet a member of LWV SLP?  We urge you to join us. For a member form, click here. Already a member? Tell your friends and neighbors about us. We are always looking for new members.
Donate Today!
LWV SLP welcomes donations from members and non-members to help support our programs and activities, including a yearly scholarship for a graduating senior from SLP High School.  Donate today.
LWV SLP Board
President:  Deb Brinkman
Vice President: VACANCY 
Secretary: Trish Campbell
Treasurer: Barb Person
Observer Corps Coord.: Judith Cook
CMAL Rep: Shelley Colvin

West Metro LWV Rep: Barb Person
 Membership: Eilseen Knisely
Voter Service: VACANCY
Newsletter Editor:  Laurie Lykken
Publicity: Judith Cook       
                                  
League of Women Voters (LWV) Mission Statement
LWV is a nonpartisan political organization that encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.
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