For those of you who have lost hope because Barrack Obama won and John McCain lost. Don't worry. There is still hope.
Until December 15th, it does not matter what happened last night. Until December 15th, technically there is no president elect, and technically there is a possibility that McCain will still win. Technically, it is possible that Obama will be president and McCain or Sarah Palin will be vice president. Technically, Michael Jordan could be leader of the free world with Oprah as his Vice President. I might be wrong about M.J. I do not know if the EC has a write-in option.
Practically speaking, I think that is a lie. I think state constitutions are for the most part (or maybe completely) set up so that the results last night have to be honored December 15th. But, technically speaking, we did not elect a president yesterday. Technically speaking we all elected a number of nameless, faceless people to the Electoral College who have pledged to vote as instructed by their state. Those people don't vote until December 15th.
I do not know what happens to someone who does not vote in the electoral college as their state instructed them to vote. My guess is that it varies by state. Texas probably shoots the guy. California probably whines and gives him (or her) a slap on the wrist. Actually, I think maybe it is totally legal for the Electoral College Representative to vote as they wish.
I also do not know if it has ever happened that an Electoral College representative has gone against the wishes of his or her state. It seems in the dark, lonely fringes of my memory banks I remember from high school history class that it happened before, but I might be thinking of people who won the college but not the popular vote, which not only has happened, but happened as recently as 2000. Didn't one of the Washington DC votes go to the wrong person in 2000 as well? I do not quite remember.
What sort of surprises me is that today, when I mentioned the election not being official until December 15th to people, they have no idea what I am talking about. I understand not knowing that December 15th is the day, but based on the context, I would think their answer would be more like "Oh... is that when the electoral college votes?" Instead of, "what do you mean?"
One guy I was talking to as we were looking at a map and I mentioned that it is not official yet was shocked that the College actually casts votes. He thought because all the maps on the Internet and on T.V. showed which states had which electoral votes, that meant they had already been cast. It took me awhile to convince him that those are actually projected based on what should happen. Incidentally, this is a guy who did not vote and as I mentioned in my blog yesterday, I do not think he should have voted because he is sort of clueless. He is a very intelligent, highly talented C# developer, but did not really take time to get informed, and so that means to me he should not vote. Of course, in my opinion, he should have taken a little time to figure it out so he would have been prepared, but that is not really what I am blogging about.
This same guy said something about it being theoretically possible for someone to win the electoral votes but not the popular votes. It turns out he did not remember or did not ever know that this happened as recently as 2000. Sometimes I wonder about this guy. He also says stupid things about sports, which to me is even more annoying than not knowing much about how our country works. But I digress again.
As we were looking at the map, someone wanted to see Wyoming's county by county map. (Most of Wyoming was red by the way... I am thinking of moving up there or to Montana to get away from all these damn liberals ... just kidding ... sort of). Another guy asked "how many electoral votes do they (Wyoming) have ... one or two?" When I said, "Well, it has to be at least 3." He did not believe that it was that many until he saw it was 3 on the website. He asked how I knew it had to be at least 3, I told him that each state get the same number as total Senate seats plus total house seats, which is at minimum 3.
Now, apparently, I am the resident electoral college expert. Pretty much all I know about it is here in this blog entry, so being the expert says a lot more about the ignorance of the people around me than my lack of ignorance. What is sort of funny is that I consider at least a couple of these people way more politically aware than I am. But, apparently, I know more about the Electoral College than they do (or at least I did before I told them everything I know).
And again, practically speaking, it does not matter that technically Obama has not yet been officially elected. The people have spoken. The only possible scenarios I can think of that would cause the college to not cast the appropriate votes as appropriate are actually horrifying enough that I will not even bring them up.
But, wouldn't it be interesting if the college just decided to go in their own direction and ignore "the will of the people"?
Maybe interesting is not the word. Chaotic would be more appropriate.