Tuesday, December 15, 2020

more electoral collegiality

I'd never watched an electoral college proceedings before, but I wound up watching at least part of several on various video platforms, most of them recordings after they'd happened. (All Democratic states: I have no interest in watching anyone vote for DT.) The larger ones were the more formal. Michigan, the one I'd first come across as it was happening, was held in what looked like a chamber of the state legislature, with the electors spread at desks across the room. Introduced by the governor, the meeting was chaired by the lieutenant governor (not himself an elector), a tall Black man with an imposing voice. They went through formal procedures of nominating and electing, not just the chair and sergeant-at-arms (who collected the signed vote certificates), but honorary chairs, and they even had formal nominations of the candidates.

California was somewhat similar. You knew that both Bill and Hillary Clinton were among the New York electors; I learned from a list posted on an official site that one of California's electors was Pete McCloskey. Up until some 40 years ago a Republican congressman, McCloskey is now 93, and some years ago he announced that after a lifetime he'd given up on the Republican party and re-registered as a Democrat, so I'm not surprised to see him here now.

I also watched parts of New Mexico, because a glitch on the news tally (since corrected) left me uncertain whether it had succeeded in voting for Biden or not, and Arizona, because I wanted to hear the secretary of state's opening speech denouncing the threats of violence against those who are counting the votes.

Both were much less formal and were held in hearing rooms. In New Mexico they sat on the dais, and elected one of their own as chair, with the secretary of state and state elections director coaching them from the audience speaker's podium. In Arizona, which has considerably more votes these days, they sat in the audience section and were addressed from a head podium facing them. Arizona has a law directing the electors to follow the popular vote, and did not pretend to be a deliberative body: they were there to vote for Biden and Harris, and nothing else. In New Mexico, though, when the ballots were handed out, they were actually told to fill it out however they wanted. Both states were small enough that the electors were individually introduced; they were mostly chairs of various state and local party organizations. Both states had tribal electors; in Arizona, if I followed this, all 3 of the state's major tribes were represented.

Anyway, the news said it all came out as intended, no "faithless" shenanigans like last time.

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