Press/Journalists

Press Release
October 12, 2004

Media Advisory: Electoral College Briefing

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About The Electoral College But Were Afraid To Ask

WHO: Director of Legal Affairs for the National Archives Office of the Federal Register, Michael White will offer a briefing on the Electoral College: what it is, the role that it plays in Presidential elections, and why it is important. Mr. White will offer historical examples of elections in which the Electoral College played a pivotal role.

After his briefing, Mr. White will be available for interviews.

WHAT: Original electoral vote tallies will be available for filming:

  • Tally of the 1800 Electoral College Vote, February 11, 1801, Records of the United States Senate.
  • Tally of the 1824 Electoral College Vote, February 9, 1825, Records of the United States Senate.
  • Tally of the 1876 Electoral College Vote, March 1, 1877, Records of the United States Senate.
  • 2000 Certificates of Vote, from Florida, Maine, New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Ohio.
  • Facsimile of the 12th Amendment to the Constitution.

WHERE: The Jefferson Room, The National Archives Building, 700 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington DC

WHEN: 10 AM, Tuesday, October 19, 2004.

Background: The National Archives Office of the Federal Register coordinates the functions of the Electoral College on behalf of the Archivist of the United States, the States, the Congress, and the American People.

The Electoral College was established by the founding fathers as a compromise between election of the President by Congress and election by popular vote. The electors are a popularly elected body chosen by the States and the District of Columbia on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November (November 2, 2004). The Electoral College consists of 538 electors (one for each of 435 members of the House of Representatives and 100 Senators; and 3 for the District of Columbia by virtue of the 23rd Amendment). Each State's allotment of electors is equal to the number of House members to which it is entitled plus two Senators. The decennial census is used to reapportion the number of electors allocated among the States.

The slates of electors are generally chosen by the political parties. State laws vary on the appointment of electors. The States prepare a list of the slate of electors for the candidate who receives the most popular votes on a Certificate of Ascertainment. The Governor of each State prepares seven original Certificates of Ascertainment. The States send one original, along with two authenticated copies or two additional originals to the Archivist of the United States at the National Archives and Records Administration by registered mail. The Certificates of Ascertainment must be submitted as soon as practicable, but no later than the day after the meetings of the electors, which occur on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December (December 13, 2004). The Archivist transmits the originals to the National Archives Office of the Federal Register (OFR).

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For Press information, contact the National Archives Public Affairs Staff at 202-501-5526 or 301-837-1700.

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The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
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