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AETN, Secretary of State Daniels partner to stream Electoral College proceedings

The Arkansas Educational Television Network and Arkansas Secretary of State Charlie Daniels have partnered to deliver the 2008 Electoral College proceedings live via Web streaming Monday, Dec. 15, beginning at 10 a.m.

In live-streaming the states Electoral College proceedings, my office, in partnership with AETN, will provide Arkansans a firsthand look at how their votes on Election Day determine which presidential and vice presidential candidates ultimately receive our states six electoral votes, Daniels said. This meetings broadcast is a great opportunity for civic students of all ages to learn about the Electoral College and our countrys peaceful transfer of power, which is the hallmark of any successful democracy.

The meeting, to be held in the Old Supreme Court Chamber at the State Capitol in Little Rock, is expected to last 60 to 90 minutes. AETN will film the event, providing live coverage at http://www.aetn.org  http://www.arkansasideas.org www.arkansasideas.org and http://www.arkansas.gov.

Educators are encouraged to use the feed in their classrooms and allow students to witness a key part of the election process, AETN Education and Governmental Affairs Director Kathleen Branton said. Eventually, we hope to qualify this session for professional development credit on our Arkansas IDEAS Web portal.

The schedule includes a roll call of electors, the oath of office, voting for president and vice president, certification of the vote and signing of the certificate. AETN will continue to make the video accessible through its Web site for teachers, classrooms and others interested in learning about the election process.

AETN is proud to partner with the Secretary of States office for this important educational opportunity that directly reflects our mission to engage and enlighten all Arkansans, AETN Executive Director Allen Weatherly said. And through todays technology, this political process will be available in classrooms and homes for years to come.

The Electoral College is a method of indirect popular election of the president, a system put into place by the authors of the United States Constitution. Voters actually cast a vote for a block of electors who are pledged to vote for a particular candidate. These electors, in turn, vote for the presidential candidate. Each state is apportioned a number of electors equal to the total number of their Congressional delegation.

After Election Day, on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December, these electors assemble in their state capitals, cast their ballots, and officially select the next President of the United States. Legally, the electors may vote for someone other than the candidate for whom they were pledged to vote, though it generally doesnt happen.

The candidate who receives the most votes in a state at the general election will be the candidate for whom the electors later cast their votes. Two votes are taken, one for president and one for vice president. For the 2008 election, John McCain and Sarah Palin received the majority of votes in Arkansas.

Electors are restricted from voting for two candidates from their state. The candidate who wins in a state is awarded all of that states Electoral College votes, except in Maine and Nebraska where the electoral may be split. Each political party in Arkansas oversees their block of electors and the Secretary of State administers the casting of the electors ballots.

The votes of the electors are then sent to Congress where the President of the Senate opens the certificates, and counts the votes on Jan. 6, unless that date falls on a Sunday. In that case, the votes are counted on the next day. An absolute majority is necessary to prevail in the presidential and the vice presidential elections, that is, half the total plus one electoral votes are required. With 538 electors, a candidate must receive at least 270 votes to be elected to the office of president or vice president.

The president-elect and vice president-elect take the oath of office and are inaugurated two weeks later, on Jan. 20.

The Arkansas Educational Television Network (www.aetn.org) provides lifelong learning opportunities, improves and enhances Arkansans lives and celebrates the unique culture of Arkansas through its programming and services. AETNs digital and analog transmitters and numerous cable system connections give it statewide reach.

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