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Wisconsin’s Presidential Electors Meet at State Capitol

Date: 
December 15, 2008

MADISON, WI – Ten Democratic Presidential Electors will gather today at the State Capitol to officially cast Wisconsin’s Electoral College votes for President and Vice-President of the United States.  At the November 4 presidential election, Wisconsin voters selected the Democratic slate of Presidential Electors who were represented on the ballot by the Democratic presidential and vice-presidential candidates, Barack Obama and Joseph Biden.

Wisconsin has one elector for each of its eight Congressional districts and two statewide electors.  Presidential electors are nominated by elected officials and legislative candidates of each political party with ballot status in Wisconsin and by independent candidates for president.  Only those electors pledged to the winning Presidential candidate cast an Electoral College vote.

Like most states, Wisconsin awards Electoral College votes on a “winner-takes-all” basis, meaning the presidential candidate with the most votes gets all the Electoral College votes.  However, Nebraska and Maine award their votes on the basis of which candidate has won each Congressional district.

Electors actually cast two ballots, one for the office of President and one for Vice President, and then sign six original Certificates of Votes Cast to validate the process.

The electors participating today were chosen at a public meeting in the State Capitol on October 7th by Democratic elected officials and legislative candidates as required by Wisconsin law.   The electors include the Governor, a state senator, two members of the State Assembly, a former state cabinet member, and the chair of the State Democratic Party.  They are as follows: 

  •   Ray Rivera, 1st Congressional District
  •   Senator Fred Risser, 2nd Congressional District
  •   Rollie Hicks, 3rd Congressional District
  •   Representative Polly Williams, 4th Congressional District
  •   Dian Palmer, 5th Congressional District
  •   Representative Gordon Hintz, 6th Congressional District
  •   Christine Bremer-Muggli, 7th Congressional District
  •   Donsia Strong Hill, 8th Congressional District
  •   Governor Jim Doyle, At Large
  •   Democratic Party Chairman Joe Wineke, At Large

The electors will meet at noon in the Governor’s Conference Room at the Capitol.  Kevin J. Kennedy, Director of the Government Accountability Board and Wisconsin’s chief election official, will call the meeting to order.  Since Governor Doyle has indicated he will be unable to serve because he expects to be out of town, before proceeding, the remaining electors will fill the vacancy as required by law.

Afterwards, the Government Accountability Board staff will arrange for the Certificates of Ascertainment to be signed by the Governor and Secretary of State.  The Certificates of Ascertainment and Certificates of Votes Cast will be sent to the Vice President of the United States in his capacity as president of the Senate, federal archivists in Washington, DC, the Wisconsin Secretary of State and the Chief Judge of the Federal Court for the Western District of Wisconsin.

The U.S. Electoral College was designed in 1787 by the framers of the U.S. Constitution.  They determined that the number of electors from each state must equal the number of each state’s representatives to Congress (U.S. Senate and House).  Federal employees and members of Congress are prohibited from serving as electors.