The President's Corner
I have had many residents in recent weeks ask me questions about the presidential election process. Therefore, I have been moved to explain the basics in how we select the president of the United States in this month’s column. The first major step in the presidential election process is the one in which we are currently in the midst: primary elections and caucuses. When we vote in the primaries and caucuses throughout the nation, we are actually voting for delegates who are pledged for the candidate we choose. If a candidate receives a certain percentage of the popular vote in a state, they win delegates who will attend the party’s national nominating convention in the summer.
The Democrats will hold their national convention from July 13 - 16, in Milwaukee, while the Republicans will hold theirs from August 24- 27, in Charlotte. Delegates from around the nation will converge on each city for their respective convention, where they will vote on and approve the party’s platform, as well as their nominee for president. It is obvious that President Trump will nail the Republican nomination and, as of this writing, it is predicted that Senator Bernie Sanders will win enough Democratic delegates to the convention to seal his nomination.
Now we are off to the first Tuesday, after the first Monday in November, which is historically when all of the states hold their general election. This year it will take place on November 3. Like in the primary election, we vote indirectly for the candidate of our choosing. In fact, we are voting for electors who are pledged to our candidate. Each state is given a number of electors equal to the number of U.S. Senators and Representatives it has in Congress. Thus, Ohio has 18 electors, due to our having two Senators (like all states) and 16 members of the U.S. House. Each candidate will select a slate of 18 electors who are pledged to vote for him or her should they win the popular vote in their state. These individuals are typically loyalists who assisted in some large way with their campaign, such as raising a lot of money.
The outcome of the popular vote in the general election determines who wins the electoral votes for that state. In most states, like Ohio, it is a winner-takes-all system. Thus, if you win the popular vote in Ohio even by a single vote, you win all 18 electoral votes. There are a total of 538 electoral votes in all – 435 representing the number of members of the U.S. House, 100 for the Senate, and 3 for Washington, D.C. The winner is the candidate who achieves 270 or more electoral votes.
In early December, the electors travel to their state capitals and cast their ballots for the candidate who won the popular vote in their state. These votes are sealed, then sent to the President of the U.S. Senate who happens to also be the Vice President. Then, in early January in a joint session of Congress the Vice President opens the envelopes, proceeds to count the electoral votes from around the nation, and announces the next president and vice president.
Of course, the electoral vote process is more of a formality, as we typically know the outcome of the election very soon after the polls close. However, the electoral vote is constitutionally required.
Finally, January 20 arrives – Inauguration Day - where the president-elect will swear the oath that every president has sworn since George Washington did so at Federal Hall in New York City in 1789.
There are many other details to the presidential election process, but I hope this provides a helpful primer or reminder of the basic process. I also hope that you will choose to uphold your civic responsibility and right to vote this year. If you need to register to vote or wish to vote by mail, feel free to contact me at 440-885-8091 or firstname.lastname@example.org. God bless America.
Parma City Council President Sean Brennan