OLYMPIA — Next Monday the electors who represent Washington state’s 12 electoral votes will meet at the Legislative building in Olympia to cast their votes for the U.S. president and vice president. This process will take place throughout the country Dec. 14.
Due to the pandemic, the Legislative building remains closed to the general public. To ensure public health and safety, and in adherence to health guidelines, public attendance for this year’s Electoral College will not be available. However, TVW will broadcast the ceremony live at noon on TV and online. Click here for more information.
How the Electoral College works
When citizens vote for the president and vice president in the General Election, they are actually selecting the “electors” that will represent their state in the Electoral College.
The number of electors allocated to each state reflects 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 two senators and 10 representatives, for a total of 12 electors. The nominee who receives the majority of the popular vote in the General Election receives all 12 of the state’s electoral votes.
Nationally, there are 538 electors who vote on the president and vice president. A candidate must receive 270 of the 538 total electoral votes to become president. If no presidential ticket receives a majority of electoral votes, the House elects the president, and the Senate elects the vice president. The framers of the U.S. Constitution established the Electoral College as a compromise between election by Congress and election by popular majority.
To learn more about the Electoral College, visit the Office of the Secretary of State’s website.