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Blog Post The Electoral College and Massachusetts Law

9/22/2016
  • Trial Court Law Libraries

The Electoral College system was established in the U.S. Constitution, Article II, section 1, and further clarified by the 12th and 23rd Amendments. “Each state shall appoint, in such manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a number of electors, equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress…”

The Secretary of the Commonwealth offers an explanation of how the Electoral College works in Massachusetts in “Running For President.” Massachusetts has nine Representatives in the U.S. House and two Senators. Thus, Massachusetts has eleven electoral votes.

MGL c. 53, § 8 requires that “The state committees of the respective political parties at a meeting called for the purpose shall nominate the presidential electors.” These names, with written acceptances and pledges made by the electors to vote for the candidates named in the filing, must have been filed with the Secretary of the Commonwealth “by the second Tuesday of September”, or in 2016 by September 13. Eleven electors are chosen by each party’s state committee.

Following MGL c. 54, § 148, “The electors whose presidential and vice-presidential candidates received the plurality of the votes in Massachusetts meet at the State House on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December. After they are sworn in by the Governor and choose a presiding officer and secretary, each elector casts a separate ballot for president and vice-president. These votes, cast on the same day in each of the states, are transmitted to the both houses of Congress, between January 3rd and January 20th. The candidates receiving an absolute majority (270) of the electoral votes are declared President and Vice-President of the United States.”

After the 2012 Presidential Election, as prescribed by federal law, the Governor signed a Certificate of Ascertainment which listed the elector-candidates with popular vote totals next to their names. The 2012 Massachusetts Certificate of Vote recorded the Electors’ votes for President and Vice President.
 

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