COLUMBUS – Americans Don’t Elect the President. You elect people to elect the president.
This group of 538 people is known as the Electoral College, and since its inception in 1788, the college has chosen the next US President. (With 69 votes, President George Washington won the support of all participating voters in 1789.)
The referendum elects governors, city council members, coroners and local judges – but not the president. In fact, five presidents won the election without receiving a majority of the vote, including President Donald Trump in 2016 and President George W. Bush in 2000.
This indirect method of presidential election makes the United States unique among other democracies. According to the Pew Research Center, more than half of the world’s democracies directly choose their leader.
Only the United States uses the electoral method. Other countries that indirectly elect their heads of state and government usually let the national legislature elect the next head of state.
The US Electoral College has 538 delegates. The total represents the number of US Senators: 100 (two per state); the number of US agents: 435; and three electors for the District of Columbia. Ohio has 18 voters.
A presidential candidate needs a majority to win: 270.
How are voters selected?
The US Constitution states that voters cannot be members of Congress or federal office. The 14th Amendment added that voters cannot be “involved in insurrection or rebellion” against the United States.
Under these basic requirements, states are given freedom to determine how voters are selected. Ohio law requires its political parties to nominate presidential elections. In other states, voters are elected by the governor or other body.
The Ohio Republican Party elected its constituents at a September 18 session. Since Trump won the state’s referendum on former Vice President Joe Biden, those 18 people will be Ohio’s voters. At least two are black; eight are women.
Who are the voters of Ohio?
- 1st District: Former Mayor of Cincinnati Ken Blackwell
- 2nd District: GOP Central Committee member Bonnie Ward, Waverly,
- 3rd District: Barbara Clark, from Columbus
- 4th District: Allen County Republican Party Chairman Keith Cheney
- 5th Ward: Lucas County Republican Party Chairman Mark Wagoner
- 6th Ward: Dave Johnson, President of the Republican Party of Columbiana Countyna
- 7th Ward: Former Senator Joy Padgett of Coshocton
- 8th Ward: GOP Central Committee member Patti Alderson of West Chester
- 9th Ward: Former Cleveland Police Union leader Steve Loomis
- 10th Ward: Former Montgomery County’s Republican Party Chairman Rob Scott
- 11th district: Patricia Weber, from Akron
- 12th Ward: Trump’s Ohio Aide Bob Paduchik
- 13th Ward: Karen Arshinkoff, the wife of the late chairman of the Summit County Republican Party, Alex Arshinkoff
- 14th Ward: Jim Wert, Cleveland area businessman, Chief Financial Officer of the 2020 Trump campaign in Ohio
- 15th Ward: Jim Canepa of Dublin, Ohio’s Superintendent for Alcohol Control
- 16th Ward: Ohio Republican Party Chairman Jane Timken
- By and large: Madison Gesiotto, a conservative commentator who won Miss Ohio USA in 2014
- By and large: Darrell Scott, Pastor from Cleveland and CEO of the National Diversity Coalition for Trump.
The Republican Party also selected multiple alternates if those individuals were unable to serve.
Who are the voters of Kentucky?
- 1st District: Member of the Executive Committee of the Republican Party of Kentucky, Richard J. Grana
- 2nd District: Member of the Executive Committee of the Kentucky Republican Party, Laura LaRue
- 3rd District: Member of the Executive Committee of the Republican Party of Kentucky, Jack L. Richardson IV
- 4th District: Former Bracken County Bailiff, Earl Bush
- 5th District: Member of the Executive Committee of the Republican Party of Kentucky, Bob M. Hutchison
- 6th Ward: Ken Kearns II, of Lexington
- Broadly: Member of the Executive Committee of the Kentucky Republican Party, Carol Rogers
- By and large: Member of the Executive Committee of the Republican Party of Kentucky, Ellen Williams
How are the voters distributed?
Forty-eight states, including Ohio, award voters on a winner-take-all approach. Trump, for example, won 53.4% of the vote in Ohio according to final, unofficial results, but he won all 18 voters in the state.
Two states, Maine and Nebraska, give electoral votes by congressional district and two votes based on the statewide winner. Because of this, Biden won three electors and Trump one election winner in Maine. Trump won four electors and Biden won one in Nebraska.
When does the electoral college vote?
The electoral college will vote in its various states on December 14th. Ohio voters will vote in the state capital at noon, according to state law.
Congress meets for a joint session to count the votes on January 6th, and the opening day is January 20th.
Can the electoral college go apostate?
Ohio law requires its constituents to vote for the winner of the state referendum, which was approved by Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose. Some states penalize or replace voters who try to become villains, but Ohio is not one of them.
The US Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that states can remove or punish voters who refuse to vote for the presidential candidate they promised to support.
The case went to the Supreme Court in part because a Colorado voter tried to vote for then Ohio Governor John Kasich over Democrat Hillary Clinton, who won the state. His vote was dropped and replaced by a voter who voted for Clinton.