- November 6, 2012—Election Day -- Registered voters cast their votes for President and Vice President. By doing so, they also help choose the electors who will represent their state in the Electoral College.
- Mid-November through December 17, 2012 -- After the presidential election, the governor of your state prepares seven Certificates of Ascertainment. “As soon as practicable,” after the election results in your state are certified, the governor sends one of the Certificates of Ascertainment to the Archivist. Certificates of Ascertainment should be sent to the Archivist no later than the meeting of the electors on December 17, 2012. However, federal law sets no penalty for missing the deadline. The remaining six Certificates of Ascertainment are held for use at the meeting of the Electors on December 17, 2012.
- December 11, 2012 -- States must make final decisions in any controversies over the appointment of their electors at least six days before the meeting of the Electors on December 17, 2012. This is so their electoral votes will be presumed valid when presented to Congress. The deadline for resolving any controversies is December 11, 2012. Decisions by states’ courts are conclusive, if decided under laws enacted before Election Day, November 6, 2012.
- December 17, 2012 -- The Electors meet in their state and vote for President and Vice President on separate ballots. The electors record their votes on six “Certificates of Vote,” which are paired with the six remaining Certificates of Ascertainment.
Here is a news report on the 2008 meeting of North Carolina's electors:
- December 26, 2012 -- The deadline for receipt of the electoral votes by the President of the Senate and the Archivist is December 26, 2012. States face no legal penalty for failure to comply. If votes are lost or delayed, the Archivist may take extraordinary measures to retrieve duplicate originals.
- On or Before January 3, 2013 -- The Archivist and/or representatives from the Office of the Federal Register meet with the Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House in late December or early January. This is, in part, a ceremonial occasion. Informal meetings may take place earlier.
- January 6, 2013 -- The Congress meets in joint session to count the electoral votes on January 6, 2013. Congress may pass a law to change this date. The Vice President, as President of the Senate, presides over the count and announces the results of the Electoral College vote. The President of the Senate then declares which persons, if any, have been elected President and Vice President of the United States. If a State submits conflicting sets of electoral votes to Congress, the two Houses acting concurrently may accept or reject the votes. If they do not concur, the votes of the electors certified by the Governor of the State on the Certificate of Ascertainment would be counted in Congress.
Here is video of the vote count in 2009:
- If no Presidential candidate wins 270 or more electoral votes, a majority, the 12th Amendment to the Constitution provides for the House of Representatives to decide the Presidential election. If necessary the House would elect the President by majority vote, choosing from the three candidates who received the greatest number of electoral votes. The vote would be taken by state, with each state having one vote.
- If no Vice Presidential candidate wins 270 or more electoral votes, a majority, the 12th Amendment provides for the Senate to elect the Vice President. If necessary, the Senate would elect the Vice President by majority vote, choosing from the two candidates who received the greatest number of electoral votes. The vote would be taken by state, with each Senator having one vote.
- If any objections to the Electoral College vote are made, they must be submitted in writing and be signed by at least one member of the House and one Senator. If objections are presented, the House and Senate withdraw to their respective chambers to consider their merits under procedures set out in federal law.