The weekend at the college didn’t turn out as you’d planned...
Back in the 2000 presidential election, I remember my mom, a staunch Democrat, getting mad at me because I voted for Ralph Nader, candidate for the Green Party.
“You’re just throwing away your vote,” she said.
That’s not the way I look at it – it’s my vote, and I can vote for whomever I like.
A similar thing happened in this most recent election. I was cautioned by my wife that if I voted Libertarian that it’d be a vote gone to waste.
Well, again, you could say that. But you could also say that any vote for a non-Republican in South Carolina is a lost cause.
It’s just the way it works when it comes to selecting our commander-in-chief – but the process has seemed to befuddle many folks who don’t know much about the Electoral College and the way our system works, despite the fact that we’re taught this in Social Studies, Civics, History and whatever they call it now in school.
I saw lots of chatter on social media in the days leading up to the Nov. 6 election with people wondering openly about the Electoral College and expressing feelings that their vote wouldn’t really count.
And after the dust settled and President Obama was re-elected by gaining the most electoral college votes, I began to think about the process – is this the best way to elect our leader, who the heck are these official electors, and for that matter are any of them from the Myrtle Beach area?
Prior to the election, I’d begun a perfunctory search for South Carolina’s members of the Electoral College, and had come up empty, and a media friend pointed me to the Secretary of State’s office.
So I searched the Secretary of State’s Web site and still couldn’t find a list of electors.
On Nov. 15, I sent an e-mail to Reneé S. Daggerhart, Media Relations Director/Executive Assistant of the South Carolina Secretary of State's Office requesting a list of the Palmetto State’s Electoral College, and she replied with a spreadsheet of Electors for 2012, representing five political parties - Republican, Democrat, Constitution, Green and Libertarian. I scanned the list and recognized two names – Dick Harpootlian, the state Democratic party chairman, and for The Constitution Party, a one Tony Romo. I was pretty sure it wasn’t the much-maligned Dallas Cowboys quarterback.
Still, I wanted to know who these people are that are entrusted with officially electing our president.
So, I took the list provided by the Secretary of State and asked the state Democratic and Republican parties if they had contact information for each elector and the Republicans responded immediately providing me the info I requested. I’m still waiting on the Democratic party.
Frustrated, I returned to Daggerhart asking her via e-mail, “is there any other information about them - where they're from, e-mail addresses?
Harpootlian's the only name I recognize - outside of Tony Romo.”
Several days later, she said she could provide me with copies of elector forms each elector had to fill out and certify, which would provide their addresses, so I could at least figure out where in the Palmetto State these folks are from – at a cost of 90 cents per party – for a grand total of $4.50 for the PDFs. So I agreed to pay, got my hands on the info, and in the meantime dispatched our intrepid correspondent Christina Knauss to try and track down some of these electors in advance of the Dec. 17 - that’s Monday - scheduled convening of the 2012 Electoral College with SOS Hammond to officially cast their votes.
Knauss had varying degrees of success reaching these mystery men and women, and you can read the fruits of her labor in this week’s cover story, which also takes a closer look at the Electoral College process and the people officially entrusted with the duty to cast votes in the presidential election – even if it’s a losing cause this time as South Carolina backed GOP candidate Mitt Romney.
Also in the days following the election, I listened to quite a bit of talk radio, and a few times on WRNN-FM’s “Hot Talk Morning Show” I heard the debate over the Electoral College brought up - and it sounded like co-host Dave Priest, an acquaintance (didn’t you know everybody in the local, liberal media hangs out together?) of mine and “Friend” on Facebook, had made it clear he was not a fan of the Electoral College. So I reached out to him and asked him if he’d like to pen an opinion piece on obliterating the Electoral College, and you can read his screed, which is part of this week’s cover story package, too, featured on our homepage.
Kent Kimes, Editor