Today, Rhode Island’s Electoral College convened to cast their votes for president and vice president. The state’s four Presidential Electors for 2020 are Elizabeth Jane Beretta-Perik, James A. Diossa, Sabina Matos, and Joseph Robert Paolino, Jr. All four electors cast their votes for Joseph R. Biden and Kamala D. Harris.
The historic ceremony was held in a socially distant manner due to the ongoing pandemic. Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea presided over the proceedings in the House Chambers of the Rhode Island State House, and Governor Gina M. Raimondo joined virtually from the premises of the building.
“As we close out the Electoral College and the 2020 election cycle, I offer a heartfelt thank you to elections workers across the state for ensuring access to the ballot box while protecting the integrity of every vote in the midst of a pandemic,” said Secretary Gorbea. “I’d like to remind all Rhode Islanders of the motto our state was founded on some 400 years ago – Hope. Now is the time for us to heal as a state and as a country to work towards the common Hope of a better tomorrow.”
Chief Judge John J. McConnell, Jr. of the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island and Providence Postmaster Jeanne Jackson also took part in the ceremony. A virtual invocation was provided by Bishop Jeffery Williams from the King’s Cathedral in Providence, and Rhode Island musician Billy Gilman sang the national anthem via video.
During the proceedings, the electors voted to name Joseph Robert Paolino, Jr. as the President of Rhode Island’s Electoral College and voted to name Samina Matos as the Secretary of the Electoral College.
Title 3, Chapter 1 of the U.S. Code outlines the Electoral College process. Electors representing the political party of the candidate who wins the popular vote for president in each state officially elect the president and vice president by casting votes on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December. The number of electors from each state is equal to the number of representatives and senators it has in Congress.
In Rhode Island, Democrat Joseph R. Biden and his vice-presidential running mate Kamala D. Harris won November’s general election with 59.4% of the vote. As a result, the presidential electors for Rhode Island were chosen by the state Democratic Party.
On January 6, 2021, the United States Congress will meet in a joint session to count the electoral votes. When a candidate for president and a candidate for vice president have received at least 270 of the 538 Electoral College votes, November’s election results will be official.