Electoral College Digital Collection Released

Certificates of Vote and Ascertainment for President and Vice President of the United States, 1948 December 13. Virginia. Secretary of the Commonwealth, Executive Papers, Box 1293, Folder 3, Accession 24938, State government records collection, The Library of Virginia. The Library of Virginia is pleased to announce the release of the Electoral College Digital Collection. The Library has a variety of records scattered across several collections (Secretary of the Commonwealth, Office of the Governor, Virginia General Assembly, and State Board of Elections) related to the Virginia Electoral College from 1789 to 2012. The Electoral College Digital Collection brings all of this material together in one place and makes it accessible online.

As we all learned in our high school government class, the President and Vice President are officially elected by the Electoral College. Under this system, established by Article II and the 12th Amendment to the United States Constitution, voters in each state on Election Day are actually choosing a candidate’s slate of electors to serve in the Electoral College. Under Chapter 1 of Title 3, United States Code (62 Stat. 672, as amended), the Electoral College meets and votes on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December. The 2016 Electoral College will meet on 19 December in the Virginia Capitol to cast Virginia’s 13 electoral votes for Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine.

Some of the highlights of the collection include: the returns for the election of George Washington in 1789 (discovered by archivist Craig Moore when he processed the records of Governor Beverley Randolph); the Journal of the College of Electors of Virginia from 1804 to 1856, 1876, and 1889; and minutes of the meeting of the 2008 Virginia Electoral College. The bulk of the collection consists of certificates of ascertainment and vote of the Electoral College. Unfortunately, not all of Virginia’s Electoral College records are extant. We have no records from 1792, 1800, 1872, 1880, 1892, 1896, 1900, 1904, 1908, 1920, 1928, and 1992.

Additional records related to the 2008 Virginia Electoral College are included in the Governor Tim Kaine Administration Web Archive Collection. You can read Governor Tim Kaine’s address to the 2008 Electoral College and view photographs of the event.

-Roger Christman, Senior State Records Archivist

Posted by in State Records Blog Posts.

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