The Electoral College in Massachusetts

How the Electoral College Works

How the Electoral College Works (This link leads to a page maintained by the Federal Election Commission)

Additional history about the Electoral College (PDF)

Selection of Electors in Massachusetts

Massachusetts elector candidates must be registered voters of the Commonwealth. They pledge to vote for their party's nominees or for those candidates on whose nomination papers their names were listed as elector candidates. Their names must be filed according to the following guidelines:

For elector candidates pledged to the party's presidential and vice-presidential candidates nominated at the party's national convention:

The state committees of the respective political parties select their presidential electors. These names, with written acceptances and their pledges to vote for the candidate named in the filing, must be filed with the Secretary of the Commonwealth by the second Tuesday of September. M. G. L. c. 53, § 8 (1998 ed.). In the year 2004, this deadline is 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, September 14, 2004.

For elector candidates pledged to non-party candidates:

The nomination papers for unenrolled candidates for president have spaces for the names and addresses of the candidates for president, vice-president and their twelve elector candidates, and such names are filed as part of the nomination papers. Elector candidates pledged to unenrolled party candidates for president must not be enrolled in any recognized political party in Massachusetts for the 90 day period preceding the filing deadline for nomination papers with the Secretary of the Commonwealth. M. G. L. c. 53, §§ 6, 9 (1998 ed.). The filing deadline with the Secretary of the Commonwealth for nomination papers for elector candidates pledged to non-party candidates is no later than 5:00 p.m. on August 31, 2004.

For elector candidates pledged to write-in or sticker candidates:

Write-in or sticker candidates for president and vice-president select their own elector candidates. These twelve names, with the written acceptance of the elector candidates, are filed with the Secretary of the Commonwealth at least 60 days before the date of the election. M. G. L. c. 54, § 78A (1998 ed.). Therefore, the final filing deadline with the Secretary of the Commonwealth is no later than 5:00 p.m. on September 3, 2004.

Electoral College Proceedings

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, which is December 13, 2004. 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 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.

Electoral Votes by State

Distribution of Electoral Votes (This link leads to a page maintained by the Federal Election Commission)

Selected Readings on the Electoral College

Highly Recommended

Barns, Walter (ed.). After the People Vote: Steps in Choosing the President. Washington: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, 1983.

Bickel, Alexander M. Reform and Continuity. New York: Harper & Row, 1971.

Congressional Quarterly's Guide to U.S. Elections (2nd ed.). Washington, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly, 1985.

Schlesinger, Arthur M., Jr. (ed.). History of Presidential Elections 1789 - 1968. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1971.

Other Sources

American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. Proposals for Revision of the Electoral College System. Washington: 1969.

Best, Judith. The Case Against the Direct Election of the President. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1975.

Longley, Lawrence D. The Politics of Electoral College Reform. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1972.

Pierce, Neal R., and Longley, Lawrence D. The People's President: The Electoral College in Ameri can History and the Direct-Vote Alternative. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1981.

Sayre, Wallace Stanley. Voting for President. Washington: Brookings Institution, c1970

Zeidanstein, Harvey G. Direct Election of the President. Lexington, MA: Lexington Books, 1973.