US Presidential Elections: How can I join the Electoral College?

This question is NOT about the merits (or lack thereof) of the Electoral College system.

I’m a US Citizen. I understand that, come the 2012 elections, the Electoral College will meet after the popular polls have closed to actually make the “official” US Presidential vote.

Suppose I want to be there, and be one of the (Electors?/Electoral Collegians?) How do I apply? What are the requirements?

And, what are the benefits of being a member? Do you get paid, or do you get to go to banquets in DC or your state capital?

“So, Joe, what have you been up to?”

“Well, I was selected to join the Electoral College! They sent me a ticket to the state capital where the Governor is giving a banquet and handing out the official ballot cards, and then they give me a ticket to DC, then I will stand in a line at the US Capitol building and wait until they call out the name of our State, and then I will drop the ballot in the box!”

In general, each party submits a slate of electors, and the party that wins the state’s electoral votes has their slate selected by the state as the state’s electors.

They are typically party faithful members. They cannot be a “…Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States…”

So if you wish to be one, get active in your political party’s state apparatus, ingratiate yourself with the leadership, and hope your party’s presidential candidate wins your state.

First of all, the Electors meet in the individual state capitals and cast their votes there. You don’t get a trip to Washington, and you don’t get any money from the government if you’re an elector.

Basically, you become an elector by being a worker in your political party. If you become known to the leadership – and especially to the leadership who supports the party’s presidential candidate – you can talk to them about being named an elector. It usually goes to former political figures and the like. If you’re not a politician, you also have to support the candidate who won the nomination (Democrats for Hillary were at a big disadvantage in 2080). The party may pay your travel expenses, but they don’t have to.

Also, the Electoral College doesn’t meet as a body - they meet in their individual states, put their votes on a ballot, and send them off to the Vice President.

Someone I was researching a while back was a member of the 2008 Electoral College, and was interviewed in her local newspaper about it. She was remarkably candid in saying that it was a prize for being a loyal flunky for so long in her county political party; she was also planning to retire her volunteer position soon, so it was also a sort of retirement gift.

I don’t know anything about the details of what goes on in the US, but – having been reasonably active in a political party on the other side of the world – the number one criterion is unquestioned loyalty to the political party and to the candidates for Pres and Vice-Pres being offered by the party. You get that by long and faithful service, and not having any strong political ambitions of your own. So, if you want to be an elector in 2032 or thereabouts, join the Dems or Repubs now, and start working hard for the party’s candidates in elections at all levels. You can have a few original ideas, and you can get elected to the school board or the city council, but don’t be a trouble-maker or dissenter, and if you’re ever asked, “Have you ever thought of standing as a State Representative or Member of Congress?” just politely admire those that hold such positions, and say that you don’t think you have what it takes to do those jobs.

(Emphasis added)

Look, Chuck, I realize you are a SF author, but there are limits! :smiley:

Compensation, if any, for electors is up to the states and is a matter of state law. In Illinois, the electors are reimbursed for their travel to the state capital (Springfield), but are not paid a salary.

As for a banquet, it’s up to your state party, but you’ll probably get a dinner out of it. By law the electors meet in their state capitals on a Monday in December, and I remember reading that the Illlinois Democratic Party in 2008 held a little dinner on Sunday night for the Obama electors.

As for the mechanics of voting, they’ll give you a piece of paper with two lines on it, for president and vice-president, and you’ll write in your choices. They better be your party’s nominees, or a lot of people will be majorly pissed off at you. Then a teller will count the votes, write down the totals (hopefully X votes for your party’s nominees) and send the totals to Washington DC.

Be aware that the parties consider nomination as an elector to be a tremendous honor and privilege, which you will have to earn through years of faithful service.

None of you mentioned needing a score of at least 2300 on the Robocalls, Signs on Sticks, and Platitudes sections of the Political SATs (Scurrilous Anticompetitive Tactics).

Oh, you thought I meant Hillary Clinton.. Sorry, I forgot which era I parked my time machine.

Okay, now there’s a valid birth certificate issue.

Follow-up question: Has anyone on this board ever been a Presidential Elector? Does anyone know somebody who is or has been a Presidential Elector?

I was a delegate-nominee for the Dem Nat’l convention once. But yes, I knew some retired pols who were electors.

Yep. IIRC my uncle was an elector for Washington State a while back. He was a bigwig in state politics for decades. If you wanted to run for any office representing Skagit County or the environs thereof, you had to pass muster with him if you were a Democrat.

No worries in Minnesota. We have 2 ballots. One for Vice President and one for President and voting is done by secret ballot. To further simplify things :dubious: state law was amended such that a vote cast for someone other than the candidate to whom the elector is pledged is automatically invalidated.

In 2004 there was a mix up.

10 Vice Presidential ballots to John Edwards
9 Presidential ballots to John Kerry
1 Presidential ballot to John Edwards

Somebody goofed and didn’t read their first ballot carefully enough.:smack:

And you have to have graduated from Electoral High School.

:eek: This probably violates the United States Constitution, should a faithless elector ever get cranky and challenge it.

I am no Constitutional scholar, so I can’t say whether it violates the constitution or not, but I will say that I agree with it. We can argue the merits of the Electoral College, but, IMO, if we do have the EC, then the votes from the EC should go where the state voted. I don’t like the idea of a rogue or senile EC member basically disenfranchising the voters of a state.

If you have a secret ballot, how do you check that a voter does not vote for two candidates from Minnesota, in violation of the U.S. Constitution? I would have thought a secret ballot was unconstitutional for the Electoral College.

[after landing and cloaking a Klingon spaceship in Golden Gate Park]
Kirk: Everybody remember where we parked.