by Andrew Martin
In the United States people often say that every vote counts during election season. While that is true, Cambridge resident Bill Sander recently caste a vote that was slightly more important than some others. That is because Sander was nominated as a Vermont elector for the Democratic Party leading up to the 2012 election and in December, he cast one of the state’s Electoral College votes for President and Vice President.
“I was very pleased and honored to be nominated as a Vermont elector and to be one of the 538 individuals to officially elect the president,” commented Sander.
The United States Electoral College consists of 538 electors, and a majority of 270 electoral votes is required to elect the President. The number of electors for each state is equal to the number of members of the state’s Congressional delegation, meaning that Vermont has three electors. While there are no guidelines for who is nominated as an elector, individuals often receive the honor to recognize service and dedication to their party
Each candidate running for President in a state has their own slate of electors who are usually chosen by the candidate’s political party. When citizens vote for a candidate they are also technically voting for the electors associated with that candidate’s party since if the candidate wins that particular state the electors will caste their state’s electoral votes for their party’s candidate in the Electoral College.
Democratic President Barack Obama carried Vermont in the 2012 election, meaning that it was Sander and the other two Democratic Vermont electors who gathered together on December 17 in Montpelier and caste their state’s Electoral College votes under the supervision of the Vermont Secretary of State. The votes of Sander and his counterparts were then sent to Congress, as were the votes in all other states. On January 6, a joint session of Congress was held during which the official electoral votes from each state were opened, counted, and the official winner of the 2012 election was determined.
Along with casting one of Vermont’s Electoral College votes, Sander will also be attending the formal inauguration of President Obama on January 21 in Washington D.C. as he and his wife, Jan, have received tickets to the ceremony. The couple’s trip to the event will mark the end of a very political year. Along with serving as an elector for Vermont in 2012 and attending the inauguration ceremony, Sander also traveled to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte earlier in 2012 where he met his longtime idol, the recently deceased Senator Daniel Inouye, of Hawaii.
While he does not expect to be nominated as an elector again, it is not unheard of for an individual to serve as an elector for a state in more than one election, meaning that Sander could potentially receive the honor again in 2016.