Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Day We Really Elect Our President

Today, December 17th, is the day when we elect the President of the United States. You may think we elected our President on November 6, but that was the day when we elected the persons, called Electors, who serve in the Electoral College and cast votes for our President. The Electors in each state meet in their own state, not in Washington DC, on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December. This year, the date for the Electors' meeting is today. The city of their meeting can be anywhere in their own state, and is usually the state capitol where the Electors come together and officially cast their ballots, separately, for President and Vice President. Then, on January 6 of the New Year, Congress meets in joint session to count the electoral votes from each state and total them up.

The Electoral College system is one of the legacies of the inspired genius of our Founding Fathers. It was part of the Great Compromise between the big states and the small states which transformed us from 13 rival colonies into a constitutional republic. This Great Compromise brought together the large and small states by means of a national Congress, with the House based on population and Senate based on state sovereignty. The Electoral College is the mirror image of that compromise; it recognizes that the United States is a nation of both "we the people" and sovereign states.

The Electoral College is the unique vehicle that gives us a President who achieves a majority in a functioning political process. It saves us from the fate of other nations that suffer from the agonies and uncertainties of coalition governments patched together when no candidate or party wins a popular-vote majority. The Electoral College has served us well for more than two centuries, with repeated peaceful transfers of power, and there is every reason to believe it can continue to serve us well.

Listen to the radio commentary here:

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