Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Who Are You Voting for Today? It's Not Who You Think It Is

As noted not long ago, elsewhere in these pages, when voters go to the polls today to cast their ballots for President and Vice President, they are not actually voting for Donald Trump or Gary Johnson or Hillary Clinton. Those candidates receive votes only indirectly.

Voters cast their ballots, instead, for slates of electors selected by the political parties (or, in the case of independent candidates, by the campaign organization).

electoral college t-shirtIn Virginia, each party selects two at-large electors and one from each of the eleven congressional districts. The Republican Party (and, I would guess, the Democratic Party) selected its slate of electors at the state party convention (for at-large slots) and at congressional district conventions.

The executive committee of the Libertarian Party selected its slate late in 2015 because all 13 names had to be included on the ballot access petitions that were circulated for the purpose of collecting a sufficient number of signatures to qualify the LP’s candidates for the ballot. The ballot petition included "stand-in" candidates for president and vice president, because Gary Johnson and William Weld were not nominated until nearly six months after the petitioning process began; their names were substituted after the petitions were turned in to the State Board of Elections. Presumably the Green Party followed a similar process.

Evan McMullin’s elector selection process was more opaque; even his running mate listed on the ballot, Nathan Johnson, is not McMullin’s actual running mate (Mindy Finn), although it’s unlikely that will matter by Wednesday morning.

Names of electors this year may be more relevant than in past years because of the possibility that one or more of them may go rogue and cast a ballot for candidates other than those who win the popular vote in their states. Two Washington state electors, who supported Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primaries, have already announced that they will not vote for Hillary Clinton if she wins in the Evergreen State.

For the sake of full transparency in the electoral process, and to document this election thoroughly for future historians, here are the names of the 65 individuals who have agreed to serve as electors if their favored candidate wins the popular vote in Virginia on November 8. (Names are followed by “city of record,” as noted by the State Board of Elections.)

Green Party electors: Audrey R. Clement, Arlington; Becker Sidney Smith, Pamplin; Clifford Barry Anderson, Radford; Daniel A. Metraux, Staunton; Edmund E. Dowe II, Virginia Beach; Gerald L. Anderson, Fredericksburg; Jana Lee Cutlip, Charlottesville; Jeffrey B. Staples, Chesapeake; Kirit Mookerjee, Washington, DC; Patrick O. Hopkins, Herndon; Richard D. Johnston, Louisa; Ryan R. Ruff, Portsmouth; William Michael Lupinacci, Oakton
Notice that the “city of record” of one Green Party elector, Kirit Mookerjee, is listed as “Washington, DC.” Is this legal?
Democratic Party electors: Bethany J. Rowland, Chesapeake; Debra Stevens Fitzgearld, Harrisonburg; James Harold Allen Boyd, Culpeper; Jasper L. Hendricks, III, Pamplin; Jeanette C. Sarver, Dublin; K. James O'Connor, Jr., Manassas; Kathy Stewart Shupe, Sterling; Keith A. Scarborough, Woodbridge; Lashrecse D. Aird, Petersburg; Susan Johnson Rowland, Chesapeake; Terry C. Frye, Bristol; Virginia L. Peters, Alexandria; Vivian J. Paige, Norfolk
Here’s an oddity: Both the Democratic Party slate and the Green Party slate include an elector whose city of record is Pamplin, a postal designation in Virginia that I’ve previously never encountered. Is that coincidence?
Republican Party electors: Alan John Cobb, Falls Church; Anne Taetzsch Fitzgerald, Staunton; Cynthia Marie Miller (Byler), Virginia Beach; Donald L. Boswell, Glen Allen; Erich D. Reimer, Charlottesville; George William Thomas, Jr., Richmond; Henry Michael Ziegenfuss, Norfolk; James G. Huber, Leesburg; John V. Rainero, Bristol; Laurie K. Tryfiates, Fredericksburg; Lynn A. Tucker, Richmond; Samuel A. Howe, Lynchburg; Sean M. Spicer, Alexandria
That last name listed for the GOP, Sean Spicer, is principal spokesman for the Republican National Committee. He’ll probably be too busy today to campaign for himself outside his home precinct in Alexandria.
Libertarian Party electors: Alvin Scott Bandy, Charlottesville; Brian A. Hiner, Roanoke; Constance Hannigan-Franck, Broadlands; David W. Saum, Falls Church; Donna L. Grebas, Chesterfield; Gregory Ivan Lloyd, North Chesterfield; James J. St. John, Norfolk; James W. Lark, III, Free Union; Juanita A. Walton Billings, Fredericksburg; M. Anne Panella, Pembroke; Robert F. Shuford, Jr., Hampton; Sanford Brotman, Fairfax; William B. Redpath, Leesburg
The Libertarian Party slate includes two former national party chairmen, Jim Lark and Bill Redpath. (Full disclosure: I was on the LP elector slate in 1992 and again in 1996, but the GOP electors were chosen by the voters those years.)
Evan McMullin/Nathan Johnson electors: Andrew Hemby, Henrico; Annie H. Pratt, Gainesville; Bruce M. Andrew, Fredericksburg; Daniel Martin Eaton, Charlottesville; Deborah Kathryn Strader, Newport News; Jonathan C. Morris, Norfolk; Joseph R. Mayes, Chester; Kelsey C. Carreon, Clifton; Matthew Phillip LaPointe, Falls Church; Monica G. Shafer, Smithfield; Nanette M. Gagnon, Woodstock; Steven D. Bridges, Marion; Wilson R. Dodge, Jr., Burke
The McMullin/Johnson slate contains nothing noteworthy, from what I can see – but if it does, please tell us in the comments section, below.

Whichever slate of electors is elected by voters tomorrow, the lucky thirteen will meet on Wednesday, December 19, at 12 o'clock noon in the Senate Chamber at the Virginia State Capitol. A limited number of tickets are available for members of the public to watch the balloting ceremony.