Hello again

I started this blog back in 2008 to chronicle my experience as a presidential elector in December of that year. It faded after a while, and I’ve since been busy with other things.

Here we are eight years later. The Electoral College is back in the news. I’ve been itching to return to the conversation. Rather than waste any more time arguing on Facebook, let’s get some quality conversations going here.

We’ll start off with an article. The Washington Post has a look at how quirks of geography can affect the outcome in the Electoral College. If state lines were shifted such that just four counties were in neighboring states, Hillary Clinton probably would have won the election.

(I say probably because you can never say for sure how an election would have turned out under different rules, because the candidates would have run different campaigns. This is a point I always make when people say Al Gore would have won in 2000 if we went by the popular vote; we really can’t know for sure. Still, it’s an interesting thought experiment.)

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Published in: on November 30, 2016 at 7:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

Mississippi clarifies filing deadline

It seems that laws often come into being in response to glitches or oversights in existing laws, rather than through some proactive impulse. According to Ballot Access News, that’s the case in Mississippi, where the governor has signed a bill to specify a closing time of 5 p.m. on the last day for filing presidential elector paperwork by parties.

Back in 2008, the Socialist Party’s presidential elector papers were submitted on the filing deadline—but after business hours—and rejected by Mississippi’s secretary of state.

Published in: on March 30, 2010 at 7:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

Interview with a Massachusetts elector

Here’s a series of short videos, totaling about 15 minutes, with 2004 Kerry elector Elizabeth Moroney. Some of the things she discusses:

  • Her background as a chief of staff for a state senator;
  • The process of getting nominated for elector by the Democrats in her state of Massachusetts;
  • What the ceremony was like (similar to the process here in Minnesota, but more formal).

Check it out:

http://americansgoverning.com/browse/titles/1/assignments/109776

(I had nothing to do with the interview, nor with the videos; this seems to be part of some sort of online course.)

Published in: on March 29, 2010 at 9:56 pm  Leave a Comment  

Eight years ago

As I mentioned earlier, Vice President Cheney presided today over the joint session certifying Obama’s and Biden’s victory. It’s interesting to watch.

Still, we may never again see high drama like Al Gore’s performance of the same role in January 2001, turning down challenge after challenge from African-American House Democrats.

I can’t find unedited video, but here’s a clip from Fahrenheit 9/11:

And here’s an article about it.

Published in: on January 8, 2009 at 3:25 pm  Leave a Comment  

Congress accepts electoral votes

It seems like a long time already since the election, but only today is it officially officially official. Vice President Cheney presided over a joint session which tallied the Electoral College result by a roll call of states.

Obviously I knew Minnesota had cast its votes correctly this time, but it was still a slight relief to hear:

The certificate of electoral vote of the State of Minnesota seems to be regular in form and authentic, and it appears therefrom that Barack Obama of the State of Illinois received 10 votes for President, and Joseph Biden of the State of Delaware received 10 votes for Vice President.

I don’t see a way to embed the video here, but C-SPAN has the whole event.

Published in: on January 8, 2009 at 2:18 pm  Leave a Comment  

2008 MN Electoral College photos


Originally uploaded by Aaron Landry

My friend Aaron Landry came to the ceremony yesterday. He posted some great pictures; Here’s the full set.

Published in: on December 16, 2008 at 5:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Day In Review

I had hoped to post some substantive updates live from the Electoral College Assembly in St. Paul. But I ultimately decided not to bring my laptop. It’s hard to do much writing and editing while also participating. So here’s an only slightly delayed journal of the day’s events.

As I mentioned in a previous post, state law sets a 9 a.m. deadline for electors to appear at the Governor’s office. An elector who is absent at that time is replaced by a randomly selected alternate.

Obviously, I didn’t want to risk that, so I got up around 5:30. I had planned to leave home around 7—leaving flex time for slow driving plus breakfast in St. Paul—but my mother (my only guest for the first part) was delayed in driving from St. Cloud. She arrived at my house at about 8, and we arrived at the Capitol at 8:45 or so.

We then went straight to the Governor’s office… almost. On our worst weather day so far this year, my attire was an unholy fusion of formal suit and Paul Bunyan outdoorwear, so I had to duck into the men’s room to fix that.

We made it to the Governor’s Reception Room with a few minutes to spare. It was set up with seating for electors at a head table and a gallery area with separate sections for alternates and guests.

Normally, Gov. Pawlenty would preside over the electors, but he’s out of the country; Lt. Governor Molnau was reportedly delayed by the bad weather. So Secretary of State Mark Ritchie convened the meeting.

After some intial remarks by Secretary Ritchie, he proceeded to a roll call. Present were:

  • Arthur Anderson, Albert Lea
  • Bill Davis, Brooklyn Park
  • Jim Gremmels, Glenwood
  • Benjamin Gross, Eagan
  • Dave Lee, Minneapolis
  • Matthew Little, Minneapolis
  • Al Patton, Sartell
  • Jackie Stevenson, Minnetonka
  • Joan Wittman, St. Paul

Unfortunately, due to the weather, elector Donyta Wright couldn’t safely come down from Northern Minnesota to St. Paul. We were forced to upgrade an alternate. Secretary Ritchie randomly drew Sue Moravec’s name, and she joined us at the main table.

A few documents were passed around for us to sign, including one certifying Sue’s promotion to elector status. We then moved to the other side of the room for pictures. Most of the electors, alternates, and guests then followed an expert from the Minnesota Historical Society for a tour of the Capitol.

Tomorrow I’ll finish this account with the DFL reception and the voting ceremony itself. Meanwhile, some quick links:

Published in: on December 16, 2008 at 1:33 am  Comments (2)  

Quick update

I’m at the Capitol now, on a guided tour at this writing. Posting from mobile so mainly doing micro-updates to Twitter. http://www.twitter.com/thisisdavelee

Will post a more substantial update here later.

[UPDATED 11/30/16 for new Twitter handle]

Published in: on December 15, 2008 at 9:49 am  Leave a Comment  

The Big Day

The Electoral College Assembly is finally here—tomorrow, that is. Each state’s electors vote on Monday, December 15, 2008, formalizing the election of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden. The invite:

Pursuant to state and federal law, all electors and alternates must appear on Monday, December 15, 2008, before 9 a.m. in the Governor’s Reception Room at the State Capitol, Room 130, 75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, Minnesota. If an elector is not present in the Governor’s Reception Room at 9 a.m. on December 15, 2008, the elector’s position will be declared vacant, and an alternate, chosen by lot, will be appointed as the elector. If more than eight alternates are needed, the electors present will elect by ballot a person to fill the vacancy. All electors and alternates must gather again at noon in the Governor’s Reception Room and will proceed to the Capitol Rotunda to cast votes for the President and Vice President of the United States.

Due to the bad weather forecast, I plan to head over very early for breakfast somewhere near the Capitol. Can’t be too careful when you’re electing a president.

Published in: on December 14, 2008 at 7:12 pm  Leave a Comment  

Certificate of Electors

Published in: on December 14, 2008 at 12:45 pm  Comments (3)