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Electoral College

National Archives Electoral College Information

Video: Electoral College Tutorial

2020 Electoral College Electors

The 2020 Electoral College will be held December 14 at 12:00 PM in Olympia, Washington.

What is the Electoral College?

The Electoral College is a process, not a place or college.

Each candidate running for President in your state chooses a group of people known as electors (also known as a slate). The political parties select the electors through the caucus and convention systems, which usually occur in the spring of the presidential year. 

Washington has 12 electoral votes in the Electoral College. The number of electors allocated to each state comes from the state’s Congressional delegation: one for each representative in the U.S. House of Representatives and one for each senator in the U.S. Senate. Washington has 10 representatives in the U.S. House of Representatives and two U.S. Senators.

Forty-eight states, including Washington, use a “winner-take-all” system; the presidential ticket that receives the most votes in our state are entitled to all of Washington’s electoral votes. 

Legislation passed in 2019 requires each elector to vote for the party and presidential ticket for which they are an elector. Each elector must sign a pledge to serve and to mark ballots for the nominees of the party that designated them. When an elector marks a ballot in violation of the pledge or leaves it blank, the elector is replaced by an alternate.

Process and Procedure.

Five hundred thirty-eight total national electors vote on the President and Vice President of the United States. A candidate must win 270 of the 538 total electoral votes to become President. If no presidential ticket receives a majority of electoral votes, the U.S. House of Representatives elects the President and the U.S. Senate elects the Vice President.

The framers of the Constitution established the Electoral College as a compromise between election of the President by Congress and election of the President by popular vote. The U.S. Constitution states, “…no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector” (U.S. Const. Art II, Sec. 1).

General Election – November 3, 2020

When voters of a state vote for President and Vice President on the General Election ballot, they are actually selecting the slate of electors that will represent the state in the Electoral College. The nominees for President and Vice President that receive the most votes in Washington’s 2020 General Election will receive all 12 of Washington's electoral votes and that presidential ticket will send 12 electors to Olympia on December 14 to cast their votes for the nominees.

State Certification – December 3, 2020

The Office of the Secretary of State certifies the election results no later than Dec 3, 2020.

Electoral College – December 14, 2020

Every state will convene its meeting of electors that same day and send their electoral votes to the President of the Senate and National Archives.

Counting Electoral Votes – January 6, 2021

Congress meets in a joint session to count the electoral votes and announce the results of the Electoral College vote.

For more information.

The Federal Register and the National Archives and Records Administration administer the Electoral College. You can find more information about the Electoral College on their website: http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/electoral-college/