Electoral College and the National Archives (2016)
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Electoral College and the National Archives (2016)

Pursuant to the Constitution and laws of the United States, the Senate and the House of Representatives are meeting in joint session to verify the certificates and count the votes of the electors of the several states for
President and Vice President of the United States. In 1950, responsibility for the Electoral
College was given to the National Archives and Records Administration to be administered
by the Office of the Federal Register. So this is a meeting of the presidential
electors as they officially cast Maryland’s electoral votes for president and vice president. When Americans vote at the general election
we’re actually voting for a slate of electors, we’re not voting for the candidates. Generally
they’re people who are very active in their political parties within their states. But
usually on the state’s ballot those slates of electors are represented by the candidates. Each state gets one elector per member of
Congress. So for example, Maryland has two
senators and eight members of the House, so it gets ten total electoral votes. It’s
a winner-take-all system. I, Beth Swope, vote
for Barack Obama for president. Barack Obama
for president. In each state all the electors
vote for the candidate who won the popular vote in that state. After the electors meet
and they vote, they’ll send a package to us. That package will contain a Certificate
of Ascertainment and a state Certificate of Vote. The Certificate of Ascertainment just
lists the number of votes each electoral slate got. And tells you who won. The Certificate
of Vote tells us how each elector voted. We
review them to make sure that they a have a seal, that they’re signed. The Constitution
says that people who are in Congress can’t be electors. Sometimes we notice that they’ve
listed somebody who’s a member of the House or a member of the Senate and then we contact
the state and tell them that that person cannot be an elector. Today is the day before Congress
counts the votes. A couple of the states actually
had the wrong date for the inauguration. And
so we asked them for amended Certificates of Vote. We just received our amended Certificate
of Vote. What we’ll do is just review it
quick and then as soon as we’re done here I will take it up to Congress. The next step
is to scan the document and then we send it forward to our web programmer who will then
post it on our website so the public can actually view the document. There are no federal requirements
on what certificates look like. This is this
year’s Ohio certificate. It’s still the
biggest it’s just a little smaller than 2008. The Certificate of Electoral Vote in
the state of Ohio seems to be regular in form and authentic. The certificates are brought down the aisle
in ceremonial boxes and presented to the tellers
who are going to open the boxes and count the vote. To be elected President
of the United States, a candidate needs to win
270 electoral votes. That’s half of the
total plus one. After the 2000 election Vice
President Al Gore, in his capacity as President of the Senate, had to make the announcement
to a joint session of Congress that he had lost the Electoral College. George W. Bush
of the state of Texas has received for president of the United States 271 votes. Al Gore of
the state of Tennessee has received 266 votes. The Office of the Federal Register maintains
the Certificates of Ascertainment and the Certificates of Vote for one year after the
election. We make them available for public
review, then after one year we transfer them to the National
Archives as permanent records. Visit the Office of the Federal Register’s
website at Archives.gov for more information about the electoral college process and the
2016 Presidential Election. Our site allows you to predict the 2016 Presidential
Election using our interactive map. Click the FAQ page to get answers to all your
electoral college questions. There is also an electoral college timeline. The Office of the Federal Register publishes
a guide about the electoral college process, available for download. It includes key dates on the upcoming 2016
Presidential Election. For more information about the electoral college
process and the upcoming 2016 Presidential Election, visit the Office of the Federal
Register’s website at Archives.gov.

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