Updated February 23 at 11:56am
12/11/08 08:31AM

RI Electoral College Ceremony Set for This Monday

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (Dec. 10, 2008) -- Rhode Island’s record-setting year in presidential politics will officially end this Monday. That’s when Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis will convene Rhode …

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (Dec. 10, 2008) -- Rhode Island’s record-setting year in presidential politics will officially end this Monday. That’s when Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis will convene Rhode Island’s Electoral College for the purpose of casting votes for president and vice president.

The historic ceremony will begin Dec. 15 at noon when a military honor guard will escort Mollis, the state’s four presidential electors, Governor Carcieri, U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, U.S. Rep. Jim Langevin, U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy and other dignities from the State Library to the State Room, where the event will take place.

“This is culmination of a year-long journey that has engaged Rhode Islanders as no election ever has. The entire state can take pride in what they have achieved,” said Mollis.

While the event is open to the public, seating is limited. Mollis asks the public to RSVP to elections@sec.state.ri.us, if they plan to attend the Electoral College ceremony.

TV monitors and additional seating will be placed in the House Lounge in case the State Room cannot accommodate the audience. In addition, Mollis has arranged for Capitol TV to televise the event live on Channel 15 on Cox and Full Channel and on Verizon's Channel 34.

“This is Rhode Island’s chance to be a part of something remarkable. Given our experience over the course of year, we expect interest will be high,” Mollis said. “I look forward to celebrating this milestone, which is historic in so many ways.”

By federal law, electors representing the political party of the candidate who wins the popular vote for president in each state officially elect the president and vice president by casting votes on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December.

Democrat Barack Obama and his vice-presidential running mate Joe Biden outpaced candidates from 6 other parties to win Rhode Island with 63.1 percent of the vote in November’s election.

Selected by the state Democratic Party, Rhode Island’s electors are state Sen. Maryellen Goodwin of Providence, state Rep. Charlene Lima of Cranston, John J. McConnell Jr. of Providence and Mark S. Weiner of East Greenwich.

More than 475,000 votes were cast in November’s election, breaking the record set in 1992. In addition, Rhode Island set new highs in the number of registered voters with more than 701,000 and in primary turnout, when more than 213,000 voters cast ballots in the March presidential primary.

Title 3, Chapter 1 of the U.S. Code outlines the Electoral College process. Each state has a number of electors equal to the number of representatives and senators it has in Congress. The Electoral College will meet in every state and the District of Columbia on Dec. 15 to cast ballots for president and vice president.

On Jan. 6, 2009, at 1 p.m., the vice president of the United States will preside over a joint session of Congress. The certificates from the electors of each state will be opened in alphabetical order by state and read aloud to Congress.

After the votes are counted, the vice president will announce the results and will call for any objections. All objections must be made in writing and include the signature of at least one representative and one senator. If there are no objections and one candidate for president and one candidate for vice president have received at least 270 of the 538 Electoral College votes, November’s election results will, finally, be official.

Secretary of State Mollis is committed to making it easier for Rhode Islanders to vote, helping businesses grow and making government more open and accessible. For more information about the programs and services the Secretary of State offers Rhode Islanders, visit www.sec.state.ri.us.

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