Press Release
December 13, 2012

National Archives Office of the Federal Register Demystifies the Electoral College

Just in time for the December 17th electors’ meeting – online guide and video

Washington, DC…If you thought the Presidential election was over and all the votes were counted, you’re wrong.

The formal election is Monday, December 17, when “electors” meet in their respective state capitals to cast their votes for President and Vice President. Based on the popular election results we are pretty sure how all the electoral votes will go.

Still not sure how this process works? Check the Electoral College online guide []. See a video showing how the National Archives Office of the Federal Register administers this important vote. This video is public domain and the National Archives encourages its use.

Although the names Barack Obama and Mitt Romney appeared on the November ballot, you were really voting for a slate of “electors” who pledged to vote for their party on December 17. Collectively, the “electors” are known as the Electoral College.

The “electors” were created by Article II of the Constitution [] to choose the President and Vice President. At the Constitutional Convention in 1787, the Founding Fathers didn’t think the voters (then only white males) were informed enough to make wise decisions.

Once the electors vote, their “Certificates of Vote” are sent to Washington, and that’s where the Office of the Federal Register, part of the National Archives, takes over.

The Federal Register staff receive Certificates of Votes from each state and the District of Columbia and certifies them. Then Congress, in a joint session in early January, counts the votes and officially declares the winners.

For more information about the Federal Register, see

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For press information, please contact the National Archives Public Affairs Staff at (202) 357-5300.

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The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
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