Electoral College vote affirms Obama re-election

Tradition trumped suspense Monday as members of the Electoral College cast the official, final votes in the 2012 presidential election, a constitutional formality on President Barack Obama’s march to a second term.

The rite playing in state capitols involved party luminaries and tireless activists carrying out the will of each state’s voters. The popular vote from state-to-state dictates whether Democratic or Republican electors get the honor, but the outcome wasn’t in doubt. Obama had well more than the 270 votes required to win the White House.

Obama was on course to get 332 votes to Republican Mitt Romney’s 206, barring defectors known as “faithless electors.” California’s 55 electoral votes — the largest cache in any state — helped put the Democratic president over the top by late Monday afternoon. Electors also were affirming Joe Biden for another term as vice president.

The certified tally sheets are on their way to Washington, where Congress will officially count them on Jan. 6. Obama is to be sworn in a couple of weeks later.

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