As we look forward today to Barack Obama's second inauguration (and fourth Oath of Office), let us hearken back to the day he was re-elected.
I refer, of course, to the Monday following the second Wednesday in December (in 2012, that was December 17). That's when all 538 Presidential and 538 Vice Presidential votes were cast. That's when 332 of those Electors -- a clear, solid majority of the electorate -- voted for the winning ticket, Obama and Biden. You may think you were voting for Obama/Biden or Romney/Ryan (or even for one of the other pairs on the ballot) on November 6, but you weren't. In truth, you were voting for slates of Electors, who are the only Americans who actually cast Presidential and Vice Presidential ballots.
You weren't an Elector, nor was I. I daresay, however, that I was a whole lot closer to matriculating at the Electoral College than any of our readers -- had Maria Ehsan, the Elector chosen at Washington's 7th Congressional District's Democratic caucus back in May, been unable to attend the Electoral College meeting in Olympia, yours truly (the Alternate Elector from WA-07) would have taken her place as one of Washington's 12 Electors.
So I was right there in the State Reception Room in Olympia's Legislative Building at noon on December 17, peering over the shoulders of the Electors as they cast their votes. I can affirm
Legislative Building, AKA Washington State Capital
that we had no faithless Electors
in the state of Washington in 2012, despite the ridiculous efforts of teahadists to get them to change their minds. Even I, a mere Alternate, received a letter from one of them; you may recall my December 15 diary about that letter, I was asked to be faithless
. In addition, you can read the letter itself (page 1
, page 2
The Electors -- and, I presume, Democratic Electors in all of the blue states -- were hit with both snail-mail and email. Everyone at the Washington Electoral College meeting, including the (Republican) Secretary of State, found the attempts to be little more than an amusing distraction.
Parenthetically, in its Presidential election history since 1892, Washington has seen one faithless Elector. In 1976, when Washington backed Jerry Ford over Jimmy Carter (who, of course, won nationally), Republican Elector Mike Padden wrote Ronald Reagan on his ballot. Reagan had narrowly lost to the incumbent President in the GOP primaries and convention, and apparently Padden was still upset about it.
And where is this renegade, this apostate, now? Why, he was just re-elected to the State Senate from the 4th LD near Spokane; this lawbreaker (RCW 29A.56.340 cites a $1000 fine for faithless Electors) currently chairs the Senate Law and Justice Committee. Then again, Republicans probably think he was a savant for tossing aside Ford to choose St. Ronnie four years early.
Below the orange squiggle, you'll find more of the story, and quite a few additional photos from the Electoral College. But first, here's confirmation that the Electors did indeed vote as their fellow Washingtonians wanted them to, for Barack Obama
and then for Joe Biden.