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Sunday, December 16, 2012

See history in the making

The state’s remarkable year in presidential politics will come to an end this Monday at noon and you’re invited. Rhode Island’s Electoral College will convene at the State House to cast ballots for president and vice president.

The historic ceremony will begin precisely at noon when the Kentish Guards in colonial military garb escort  the state’s four presidential electors, the state’s Congressional delegation and other dignitaries to the House Chamber, where the event will take place.

“This is the culmination of a year-long journey that sent Rhode Islanders to the polls in near-record numbers. The entire state can take pride in what they have achieved.”

Because seating in the House Chamber is limited, please RSVP to aralphmollis@sos.ri.govor 222-4293. Capitol TV will televise the ceremony live on Channel 15 on Cox Cable and Full Channel and Channel 34 on Verizon. In addition, TV monitors will be set up in the State Room to accommodate anyone who cannot be seated in the House Chamber.

The process began in 2011, when we introduced legislation creating a regional presidential primary with Pennsylvania, New York and Connecticut. The initiative brought Mitt Romney, Ron Paul and the Gingrich campaign to Rhode Island in the days before voters went to the polls last April. The end came when more than 446,000 votes were cast in last month’s election, the second highest turnout in state history.

Title 3, Chapter 1 of the U.S. Code outlines the Electoral College process. Each state has a number of electors equal to the number of representatives and senators it has in Congress. The Electoral College will meet in every state and the District of Columbia on Dec. 17 to cast ballots for president and vice president.

By federal law, electors representing the political party of the candidate who wins the popular vote for president in each state officially elect the president and vice president. Rhode Island’s Electors are state Rep.-elect Marvin L. Abney of Newport, Emily A. Maranjian of Providence, L. Susan Weiner of East Greenwich and Mark S. Weiner of East Greenwich.

The Rev. William L. Shaw of the Union Baptist Church in Pawtucket will provide the Invocation and the Martin Middle School choir of East Providence will perform the national anthem to open Rhode Island’s ceremony.

On Jan. 6, 2013, Vice President Biden will preside over a joint session of Congress. The ballots of the electors from each state will be opened in alphabetical order by state and read aloud to Congress.