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Auditor General Jack Wagner to Cast Electoral College Vote for Obama Dec. 15 in PA House Chamber
HARRISBURG, Dec. 11, 2008 – Auditor General Jack Wagner cast thousands of votes while serving as a Pittsburgh city councilman and Pennsylvania senator. On Dec. 15, he will cast one of the most historic ballots in his three decades of public service.
At noon on that date, in the House of Representatives’ chamber, Wagner will cast his vote for president of the United States as a member of Pennsylvania’s 56th Electoral College.
Wagner said he will vote for Barack Obama, the Illinois senator whom he endorsed for the Democratic presidential nomination in Pennsylvania’s spring primary. Wagner and U.S. Sen. Bob Casey were the highest-ranking statewide Democrats who endorsed Obama in the Pennsylvania primary.
“Our nation made history this year by electing its first African-American president, and I am proud to have had my name appear with Barack Obama’s on the Pennsylvania ballot,” said Wagner, the top vote-getter in last month’s general election, with 3,336,219 votes.
Wagner was asked by president-elect Obama’s representatives to serve in the Electoral College, and is among 21 distinguished Pennsylvanians who will cast votes on Monday.
Pennsylvania’s electors equal the number of congressmen and U.S. senators representing the commonwealth in the U.S. Congress. (The U.S. Constitution forbids a member of Congress or a federal office from serving as an elector.)
The Electoral College convenes on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December following a presidential election. The U.S. Constitution requires electors to vote by ballot. The Constitution does not require electors to vote as a unit, but they usually do so.
The results of the Electoral College are reported to the Administrator of General Services, who then certifies copies to Congress. The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives meet in joint session, in the Hall of the House of Representatives, at 1 p.m. Jan. 6 following every presidential election year, to count the electoral votes. The joint meeting cannot end until the votes are counted and a result is announced.
Although the Electoral College is perceived by some voters, academics and politicians as an antiquated institution that should be abolished in favor of direct election of president by popular vote, Wagner said he was in favor of preserving the present system.
“The candidates’ need for Pennsylvania’s 21 electoral votes is why our state has been a battleground in the past five presidential elections,” Wagner said. “Why would we want to give our leadership role in picking our nation’s leader?”
Auditor General Jack Wagner is responsible for ensuring that all state money is spent legally and properly. He is the commonwealth’s elected independent fiscal watchdog, conducting financial audits, performance audits, and special investigations. The Department of the Auditor General conducts approximately 5,000 audits per year. To learn more about the Department of the Auditor General, taxpayers are encouraged to visit the department’s website at www.auditorgen.state.pa.us.
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