PROVIDENCE, R.I. – R.I.'s Electoral College cast its ballots for Barack Obama and Joe Biden at the State House this afternoon.
Selected by the state Democratic Party, Rhode Island's Electors are state Rep.-elect Marvin L. Abney of Newport, Emily A. Maranjian of Providence, L. Susan Weiner of East Greenwich and Mark S. Weiner of East Greenwich.
The historic ceremony began at noon when the Kentish Guards in colonial military garb escorted Governor Chafee, Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis, the state's four presidential electors, the state's Congressional delegation and other dignitaries to the House Chamber, where the event took place.
The Rev. William L. Shaw of the Union Baptist Church in Pawtucket gave the invocation and the Martin Middle School choir of East Providence performed the national anthem to open the ceremony.
"This is the culmination of a year-long journey that sent Rhode Islanders to the polls in near-record numbers. The entire state can take pride in what they have achieved," said Mollis. More than 446,000 ballots were cast in November's election, the second-highest turnout in state history.
The process began in 2011, when Mollis introduced legislation creating a regional presidential primary with Pennsylvania, New York and Connecticut. The initiative brought Mitt Romney, Ron Paul and the Gingrich campaign to Rhode Island in the days before voters went to the polls last April. The end came when more than 446,000 votes were cast in last month's election, the second highest turnout in state history.
Mollis has arranged for Capitol TV to re-broadcast the ceremony through the end of the year on Channel 15 on Cox Cable and Full Channel and Channel 34 on Verizon. Visit for the schedule.
Title 3, Chapter 1 of the U.S. Code outlines the Electoral College process. Each state has a number of electors equal to the number of representatives and senators it has in Congress. The Electoral College will meet in every state and the District of Columbia on Dec. 17 to cast ballots for president and vice president.
By federal law, electors representing the political party of the candidate who wins the popular vote for president in each state officially elect the president and vice president. Democrat Barack Obama and his vice-presidential running mate Joe Biden outpaced candidates from six other parties to win Rhode Island in November's election.
On Jan. 6, 2013, Vice President Biden will preside over a joint session of Congress. The ballots of the electors from each state will be opened in alphabetical order by state and read aloud to Congress.
The Secretary of State's office shares responsibility for staging elections with municipal boards of canvassers and the state Board of Elections. The Secretary of State's office prepares ballots, maintains the statewide voter registration database, encourages voter registration and turnout and creates guides to running for office and voting. The state Board of Election oversees the delivery of ballots, maintenance of voting equipment and training of poll workers. Local boards of canvassers select polling places and poll workers.
Secretary of State Mollis is committed to making it easier for Rhode Islanders to vote, making it easier to do business in Rhode Island and making government more open and accessible. For more information about the programs and services the Secretary of State offers Rhode Islanders, visit www.sos.ri.gov.
MEDIA CONTACT: Chris Barnett at 222-4293