Originally uploaded by Aaron Landry
I had hoped to post some substantive updates live from the Electoral College Assembly in St. Paul. But I ultimately decided not to bring my laptop. It’s hard to do much writing and editing while also participating. So here’s an only slightly delayed journal of the day’s events.
As I mentioned in a previous post, state law sets a 9 a.m. deadline for electors to appear at the Governor’s office. An elector who is absent at that time is replaced by a randomly selected alternate.
Obviously, I didn’t want to risk that, so I got up around 5:30. I had planned to leave home around 7—leaving flex time for slow driving plus breakfast in St. Paul—but my mother (my only guest for the first part) was delayed in driving from St. Cloud. She arrived at my house at about 8, and we arrived at the Capitol at 8:45 or so.
We then went straight to the Governor’s office… almost. On our worst weather day so far this year, my attire was an unholy fusion of formal suit and Paul Bunyan outdoorwear, so I had to duck into the men’s room to fix that.
We made it to the Governor’s Reception Room with a few minutes to spare. It was set up with seating for electors at a head table and a gallery area with separate sections for alternates and guests.
Normally, Gov. Pawlenty would preside over the electors, but he’s out of the country; Lt. Governor Molnau was reportedly delayed by the bad weather. So Secretary of State Mark Ritchie convened the meeting.
After some intial remarks by Secretary Ritchie, he proceeded to a roll call. Present were:
- Arthur Anderson, Albert Lea
- Bill Davis, Brooklyn Park
- Jim Gremmels, Glenwood
- Benjamin Gross, Eagan
- Dave Lee, Minneapolis
- Matthew Little, Minneapolis
- Al Patton, Sartell
- Jackie Stevenson, Minnetonka
- Joan Wittman, St. Paul
Unfortunately, due to the weather, elector Donyta Wright couldn’t safely come down from Northern Minnesota to St. Paul. We were forced to upgrade an alternate. Secretary Ritchie randomly drew Sue Moravec’s name, and she joined us at the main table.
A few documents were passed around for us to sign, including one certifying Sue’s promotion to elector status. We then moved to the other side of the room for pictures. Most of the electors, alternates, and guests then followed an expert from the Minnesota Historical Society for a tour of the Capitol.
Tomorrow I’ll finish this account with the DFL reception and the voting ceremony itself. Meanwhile, some quick links:
The Electoral College Assembly is finally here—tomorrow, that is. Each state’s electors vote on Monday, December 15, 2008, formalizing the election of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden. The invite:
Pursuant to state and federal law, all electors and alternates must appear on Monday, December 15, 2008, before 9 a.m. in the Governor’s Reception Room at the State Capitol, Room 130, 75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, Minnesota. If an elector is not present in the Governor’s Reception Room at 9 a.m. on December 15, 2008, the elector’s position will be declared vacant, and an alternate, chosen by lot, will be appointed as the elector. If more than eight alternates are needed, the electors present will elect by ballot a person to fill the vacancy. All electors and alternates must gather again at noon in the Governor’s Reception Room and will proceed to the Capitol Rotunda to cast votes for the President and Vice President of the United States.
Due to the bad weather forecast, I plan to head over very early for breakfast somewhere near the Capitol. Can’t be too careful when you’re electing a president.
Today’s meeting was an informal, preliminary gathering of electors. Mainly we talked about tomorrow’s schedule. Also, each elector and alternate received a lovely Certificate of Electors.
This meeting was facilitated by Secretary of State Mark Ritchie and Karen Janisch, the Legal Counsel from Governor Pawlenty’s office. Lt. Governor Carol Molnau will reportedly preside tomorrow.
(originally sent from iPhone; reposted from MacBook to fix the pictures and typos)
At 11 a.m. today, I’ll attend the first meeting of the Minnesota electors (the main Electoral College ceremony being tomorrow at noon). I’ll be updating live on Twitter; follow me there.
The notice for today reads:
Pursuant to Minnesota Statutes Chapter 208, on Sunday, December 14, 2008, at 11 a.m., a meeting will be convened of the presidential electors and alternate presidential electors. The meeting will take place in the Governor’s Reception Room at the State Capitol, Room 130, 75 Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, Minnesota. At that time, the Governor or his agent will deliver to the electors present a certificate of the names of all the electors. The above meeting is prescribed by statute. It is not the meeting at which the electors vote or which vacancies are declared or filled. The electors and alternates need not appear at this meeting in order to participate in the meetings on Monday, December 15, 2008.
The Capitol isn’t very far from here, but the forecast is “Rain and freezing rain early will changeover to snow for the afternoon.” So I should get moving!
I’ll post more later. Meanwhile, you can follow me on Twitter.
[UPDATED 11/30/16 for new Twitter handle]