Cleveland County’s Betsy Wells was elected June 16 to be one of the 15 persons representing North Carolina in the Electoral College if President Obama and Vice President Biden carry the state in the 2012 general election as they did in 2008.
In the process set forth by Founding Fathers in the U. S. Constitution, presidents and vice presidents aren’t elected directly by the people but indirectly by “electors” representing them. When you vote for presidential and vice presidential candidates, you actually are not voting for the candidates themselves, but for the “electors’ their political parties have chosen to vote for them in the Electoral College process.
Assuming victory this November, Mrs. Wells will meet with other state Democratic electors in the old Hall of the House of Representatives in Raleigh on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December. The electors will formally vote for Obama and Biden, and the Governor will certify their votes. Then, at 1:00 p.m. on a day between Jan. 6 and Jan. 8, 2013, the U. S. Senate and House of Representatives will meet jointly in House chambers in Washington to ceremonially count the state ballots brought before them in mahogany boxes. The president and vice presidential candidates must receive a majority of electoral votes from the states to win.
Of course, Americans most likely will have learned from news organizations on election night who “won” the most electoral votes—given that modern technology no longer requires hand-carrying votes by horseback as it may have in the days of the Founding Fathers. But it won’t be until the Congress has counted and announced the Electoral College vote totals in January that the President and Vice President will officially be elected.
Reflecting population, each state is entitled to one elector for each member of the U. S. House of Representatives it elects plus two for each state’s senators—North Carolina has 15 electors. Mrs. Wells was elected at a 10th Congressional District caucus held in conjunction with the June 16 North Carolina State Democratic Convention held in Raleigh.
Typically, being named a state elector recognizes contributions to party, community, and state. Mrs. Wells, Democratic chair in her home precinct of Grover, is serving her 12th year on the N. C. Democratic Party Executive Committee and is a member of its Platform and Resolutions Committee. A two-time delegate to national Democratic conventions, she is Cleveland County coordinator for the 2012 national convention to be held in Charlotte in September. Formerly chair of the Cleveland County Democratic Party for nine years, she is also serving now as president of Cleveland County Democratic Women.