The Electoral College Electors

Updated on November 20, 2016

The Republican Party

By Republican Party (United States) ( [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
By Republican Party (United States) ( [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons | Source

There are very few provisions in the Constitution of the United States about the qualifications of the Electors that make up the Electoral College. “Article II, section I, clause 2 provides that no Representative or Senator , or person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States shall be appointed as Elector.” At the beginning, the 14th Amendment provided that some state officials who had engaged in an insurrection or rebellion against the United States or had given comfort and aid to the enemies of the United States would not be able to serve as an Elector in the Electoral College. This related to the post-Civil War era of the United States.

Certificate of Ascertainment for Oregon

By U.S. Government [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
By U.S. Government [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons | Source

Each state has a Certificate of Ascertainment. The names, of the appointed electors are in the state Certificate of Ascertainment and this is usually enough to establish the qualifications of the state's electors.

The process of choosing each state's electors is a two-part process. The first thing the political parties do in each state is choosing slates of potential Electors. Each state will do this before the general election, The next thing is that on Election Day, the voters will go to the polls and vote for the President. This process will decide the state's Electors.

Each political party in each state controls the first part of the process. Each state has their own process. Most parties will nominate slates of potential Electors. This is usually done at the party convention in each state. They can also be chosen by the party's central committee by vote. This process happens in each state for each party. When this first phase is completed each Presidential candidate will have his unique slate of potential Electors.

Sometimes the Electors for the state are chosen by the political parties to recognize their service and dedication to their political party. The electors can be elected officials or party leaders in the state. They can also be people in the state who have affiliated with the party's Presidential candidate both personally or politically.

Electoral College Map

By Gage (2012 Electoral College map) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
By Gage (2012 Electoral College map) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons | Source

On Election Day the second part of the process will take place. On election day each state's voters will vote for the Presidential candidate of their choice and when they do this they will be voting fro their state's Electors. Sometimes the potential Electors names will appear under the name of the Presidential candidate's name and sometimes the potential Electors name will not appear on the ballot. This will depend on the election procedures and the format of the ballots in each state.

When a Presidential candidate wins his slate of potential Electors will be appointed as the state's Electors. The states of Maine and Nebraska do things differently. The rule in Maine and Nebraska is the winner in the state will get two Electors. Each congressional district winner will receive one Elector. The state winner and the congressional district winner can be the same candidate or different. The Electors can be awarded to both candidates in Main and Nebraska.

Electoral Vote For Each State in 2016

By Ali Zifan (Cartogram—2012 Electoral Vote.svg by Kelvinsong) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
By Ali Zifan (Cartogram—2012 Electoral Vote.svg by Kelvinsong) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons | Source

There is no Federal Law or Constitution provision that requires the Electors to vote for the winner of the popular vote in the stat they represent. Electors will have to vote according to the popular vote as required by some States. The pledges are in two categories. The two categories are Electors that are bound by their state's law and the Electors that are bound by their pledges to their political party.

According to the United States Supreme Court, the Constitution does not require the Electors be completely free to act as they choose. This means that political parties may get pledges from electors to vote for the party's nominees. Some states have laws that provide for “faithless Electors” and it states that they may be fined or they may be disqualified for casting a vote that is not valid. In some cases, they can be replaced by a substitute elector. It has not been ruled on by the Supreme Court if pledges and penalties for failure to vote as pledged may be enforced under the Constitution. There has never been an Elector prosecuted for not voting as he pledged

Rarely do Electors vote for someone besides their party's candidate. Usually, the Electors hold positions of leadership in their party or are chosen to show appreciation for their years of loyal service to the party. Since the first Electoral College, the Electors have voted more than 90 percent as pledged.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.


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    • norlawrence profile imageAUTHOR

      Norma Lawrence 

      3 years ago from California

      Thanks I fixed that one.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      3 years ago from the beautiful south

      Under State of Oregon...the names ;of.....and not seeing the second one but sure it was there before. You can delete this.

    • norlawrence profile imageAUTHOR

      Norma Lawrence 

      3 years ago from California

      Thanks Jackie Lynnley Thanks for pointing out typos as I need all the help I can get. I have spell checked twice and did not find them.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      3 years ago from USA

      I hope we finally do away with the electoral college. In an electronic age, we can easily count each vote quickly without resorting to this. People are reasonably educated and what's the saying about you can fool some of the people some of the time but you can't fool all of the people all of the time? This moves us closer to that.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      3 years ago from the beautiful south

      Thank you for this very clarifying summary. Fantastic job.

      I did notice a couple of typos you might want to fix before it is read much. My best friends and I always help each other with that so no offense intended.

      Happy Thanksgiving!

    • norlawrence profile imageAUTHOR

      Norma Lawrence 

      3 years ago from California

      Thank you for your comment. Appreciated it.

    • Readmikenow profile image


      3 years ago

      I hope many people read this. It it explains a lot without being too technical. Enjoyed reading it.

    • norlawrence profile imageAUTHOR

      Norma Lawrence 

      3 years ago from California

      Thank you very much billybuc. I really appreciate it. My articles get very few views and very few comments so everyone is very important to me. I wrote one about the Electoral College a couple of days ago. It did better than most. I have tried Flipboard but have done nothing there. Thanks again.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      As a former Political Science teacher I can give you an A+ for this summary.


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