State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Mary Wilson covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

PA's Electoral College gives all 20 votes to Obama, Biden in election rite

Written by Mary Wilson, Capitol Bureau Chief | Dec 17, 2012 3:36 PM
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Photo by Mary Wilson / witf

Throughout the country today, each state’s Electoral College has convened to make its state’s presidential pick official.

In Pennsylvania, Commonwealth Secretary Carol Aichele kicked off the meeting of the 57th Electoral College at exactly noon. The 20 electors sat in the state House chamber – among them, state Treasurer Rob McCord, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, and the Democratic leaders of the state House and Senate.

As House proceedings go it was an uncommonly Democratic Party-dominated affair, but Gov. Corbett said the rite is more about celebrating the country’s constitution and history of peaceful governing.

“We are not here because one party failed. We are here because the system succeeded,” he said.

Pennsylvania awarded all 20 of its electoral votes to President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden in the November election. The electors themselves were chosen by the Obama campaign.

Cliff Levine, a lawyer for the state Senate Democrats, gave brief remarks to the electors after being named president of the Electoral College. He warned against proposals to change the way Pennsylvania allocates its electoral votes – from a winner-take-all method, to one that reflects the proportion of the popular vote won by each candidate.

Supporters say the proposed plan would ensure those who do cast ballots for the candidate who gets a minority of the vote will still be heard. A similar plan failed to gather steam last year – Levine says its latest iteration should be defeated.

“We must not diminish the voice of Pennsylvania’s voters on a national stage because of the frustration of a few with the outcome of a particular election,” he said.

Levine said it’s happened before that an elector has not chosen the candidate he was selected to pick, but all 20 of Pennsylvania’s electors unanimously cast their paper ballots for Mr. Obama and Mr. Biden.

The votes will be sent to Washington to be opened in a joint session of Congress January 6.

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