How to Track Down Electors in Your State

November 3, 2008
Category: Uncategorized

The vote did not end Tuesday.

What you are really voting for are electors who will vote after you vote. And, surprising as it may seem, the electors do not have to vote for the candidate your state chooses. They can vote any way they wish.

HowStuffWorks explains how you get to be an elector:

  • The elector is nominated by his or her state party committee (perhaps to reward many years of service to the party).
  • The elector “campaigns” for a spot and the decision is made during a vote held at the state’s party convention.
There’s the how, but what about the “what” — as in, “What are the required qualifications of an elector?” There really aren’t any. According to the National Archives and Records [Administration] Web site, “the U.S. Constitution contains very few provisions relating to the qualifications of electors.” While the constitution doesn’t dictate what an elector should know or be able to do, it does suggest who or what an elector cannot be:
  • He or she cannot be a representative or senator
  • He or she cannot be a high-ranking U.S. official in a position of “trust or profit”
  • He or she cannot be someone who has “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the U.S.

HowStuffWorks goes on to point out that there are 48 “winner-take-all” states and two states that are “district system” states:

The system known as the “district system,” is observed in both Maine and Nebraska. In these states, two electors’ votes are made based on the candidate who received the most votes statewide. The remaining electoral votes go by congressional districts, awarding the vote to the candidate who received the most votes in each district. Now, in regard to “winner-take-all” states, keep in mind … most of the time, electors cast their votes for the candidate who has received the most votes in that particular state. However, there have been times when electors have voted contrary to the people’s decision, which is entirely legal.

So how do you know who will represent you? Here are some answers from the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration:

Where do I find the names of the 2004 presidential electors?

Where do I find the names of the 2008 presidential electors?

  • After the November general election, the 2008 certificates of ascertainment will be posted online as quickly as possible following their receipt by the Office of the Federal Register.

May I attend the meeting of my state’s electors to watch them vote?

Generally, each state’s electors vote at their respective state capitols. Each state determines whether the voting is open to the public.

To find out if your state’s meeting of electors is open to the public and if so, what the process is to view the vote, contact your:


How can I check the precinct by precinct results of the 2004 Presidential election in Ohio?

Check the Ohio Secretary of State’s web site at

See also:

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