In a first, the state elections board today gave the public a glimpse of the most important, but least understood part of the presidential electoral process.
At 1 p.m., Maryland’s 10 members of the Electoral College cast their votes for the offices of president and vice president of the United States at the State House in Annapolis. In a first, Maryland was among dozens of states that livestreamed the proceedings.
It’s been almost impossible to avoid reading about the United States’ unorthodox system for electing the president over the past month, but for anyone who is still unfamiliar, federal law dictates that each state has a sworn number of electors equal to its number of congressional representatives and senators. (D.C. also gets three.) Electors generally follow the unspoken order from their state’s voters to go with their pick for president, though the system does leave room for so-called faithless electors who decide to go against the fray, oftentimes facing a fine as a penalty.
It is this system that allows for a presidential candidate who receives a smaller number of votes than their opponent– as many as 2.8 million fewer in President-elect Donald Trump’s case – to still secure office by winning 270 of 538 electoral votes. Trump walked away on Nov. 8 with 306 electoral votes, giving him the win.
Many have been campaigning around the country over the last five weeks to convince electors in states that went with Trump to go rogue. The Guardian reports that eight of those electors plan to defect today, seven of them Democrats. Some have speculated that more electors will change their minds today as well, but it seems highly unlikely the total will reach the 37 votes necessary to change the outcome.
Regardless of what may or may not happen, none of this really impacts Maryland, where three-fifths of voters went with Hillary Clinton on their ballots on Nov. 8. Unless you buy the hype from fake news stories, don’t expect anything to go awry today.
Despite a lack of any political fireworks, Marylanders got a unique chance to see what it looks like for their electors to formally cast their ballots for president. The proceedings involve electors taking oaths, ceremonial speeches, some signing of documents and the certification of the electors by Gov. Larry Hogan.
The Maryland Board of Elections will be streamed the whole ballot-casting ceremony here at 1 p.m.
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