PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis is inviting the public to see Rhode Island's Electoral College cast its ballots for president and vice president at the State House Mon., Dec. 17.
The historic ceremony will begin at noon when the Kentish Guards in colonial military garb escort Mollis, the state's four presidential electors, Governor Chafee, the state's Congressional delegation and other dignitaries to the House Chamber, where the event will take place.
"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.
Because seating in the House Chamber is limited, Mollis asks the public to RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or 222-2340. Mollis also has arranged for Capitol TV to televise the ceremony live on Channel 15 on Cox Cable and Full Channel and Channel 34 on Verizon. In addition, TV monitors will be set up in the State Room to accommodate anyone who cannot be seated in the House Chamber.
"I look forward to celebrating this last milestone. Rhode Island has been a part of something remarkable. Given our experience with this presidential election, we expect interest will be high," Mollis said.
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.
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.
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 Rev. William L. Shaw of the Union Baptist Church in Pawtucket will provide the Invocation and the Martin Middle School choir of East Providence will perform the national anthem to open Rhode Island's ceremony.
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.
After the votes are counted, Vice President Biden will announce the results and will call for any objections. All objections must be made in writing and include the signature of at least one representative and one senator. If there are no objections and one candidate for president and one candidate for vice president have received at least 270 of the 538 Electoral College votes, November's election results will, finally, be official.
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 Elections 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