Amidst predictions of a narrow Electoral College margin, some are wondering if the election could be tipped by members of the Electoral College switching sides. There's zero prospect of that happening in Idaho, says Secretary of State Ben Ysursa.
"These are party loyalists," Ysursa said Friday. "We don't get into the 'faithless electors' scenario."
That doesn't mean Idaho Gov. Butch Otter may not be getting a call in December should Mitt Romney have a narrow edge after the election, as predicted by Professor Lara Brown at a conference for Idaho history teachers Thursday.
In 2000, Ysrusa said Karl Rove, George W. Bush's "brain" was on the horn to Gov. Dirk Kempthorne's chief of staff, Phil Reberger, as electors prepared to cast their ballots in Bush v. Gore. "He wanted to be sure all our folks toed the line," Ysursa said.
They did, as did all the other Republican electors in the country, giving Bush a 271-266 win, with one abstention, despite Gore's 544,000-vote edge in the popular vote.
This year, when the electors meet at noon on Dec. 17 at the Idaho Capitol, Ysursa says they're a lock to vote as expected. The electors, by state law, were chosen at the respective party conventions in June. I can't imagine a more reliable bunch, in both parties.
The Republican electors are: Travis Hawkes, who has led the effort to help Mitt Romney raise a record-shattering $3.7 million in Idaho; Teresa Luna, Otter's appointee to run the Idaho Department of Administration and sister of Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna; Jason Risch, a Boise lawyer and son of GOP Sen. Jim Risch; and Damond Watkins, spokesman for Melaleuca CEO Frank VanderSloot, a $1 million Romney backer.
The Democrats: Boise Mayor Dave Bieter, a former Democratic legislator and party stalwart; Bethine Church, the widow of the late-Sen. Frank Church; former School Superintendent Marilyn Howard, the last Idaho Democrat to hold statewide office; and George Millward, a railroad union leader from Pocatello.
Their names will appear on the ballot, in smaller type, along with Mitt Romney/Paul Ryan and Barack Obama/Joe Biden.
I watched the Idaho vote in Gov. Kempthorne's office December 2000, along with the live TV cameras. It's a short event, with appropriate formality.
Electors will cast paper ballots and sign six original Certificates of Vote. Those certificates will be paired with Certificates of Ascertainment, listing names of electors and number of votes received, other candidates for elector and carrying the governor's original signature (no Auto-pen signatures or stamps) and the state seal.
Vice President Biden, as President of the Senate, gets one set of originals; two go to the Archivist of the United States; two go to the Secretary of State Ysursa; and the last to U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill, chief judge of the District of Idaho.
The National Archives and Records Administration, which provides four pages of instructions to states, strongly recommends documents be mailed on the same day of the vote, as they are required by law to be received by Dec. 26.
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