. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

It's Official: Clinton Beats Dole Again

WASHINGTON -- The only votes that officially count under the U.S. Constitution were cast across America on Monday, and Bill Clinton beat Bob Dole again in the presidential race.


Ceremoniously meeting in state capitals -- and with considerable grumbling about a system some consider archaic -- electors cast their states' electoral votes for the presidential candidate who won the most votes in their states.


Clinton and Vice President Al Gore were entitled to 379 electoral votes to 159 for Republicans Bob Dole and Jack Kemp. There were no reports of deviations -- no "faithless electors'' casting independent ballots.


Under the U.S. system, each state gets a number of electors which is roughly based on population. For a candidate, winning a state -- even by the smallest of margins -- entitles the candidate to all of that state's electoral votes.


Clinton-Gore carried 31 states and the District of Columbia in November. Four years ago, the Democratic pair won 32 states, but nine fewer electoral votes.


Gore, in his role as the presiding officer of the Senate, will open the states' electoral ballots before a joint session of Congress on Jan. 9 and declare himself and Clinton elected.


They will be inaugurated Jan. 20.


In Pennsylvania, Tom Ridge, the Republican governor, good-naturedly gave the Democratic electors "one last chance to change your minds.'' None took him up on it.


Ridge served them lunch anyway -- pumpkin-squash soup, grilled chicken, winter salad and cream puffs. Electors got to keep the Bibles on which they were sworn in, too.


Alabama paid its electors $8 for expenses, plus 20 cents a mile for travel. Elector Len Gavin said with a laugh that he had earned enough for a fast-food dinner.


Complaints are traditional about the multilayered system, ordained by the Constitution, under which voters cast ballots not for a candidate but for slates of electors.


Each state gets as many electors as it has U.S. senators and representatives. They are pledged to vote for whoever won their state or, in Maine and Nebraska, their congressional district.


"I don't think anybody disagrees that it's an outdated and antiquated process,'' said Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating, a Republican. "It's anachronistic, but it certainly does work.''


In Illinois, Republican Representative Ray LaHood, said he will introduce legislation to abolish the Electoral College. "It seems antiquated, arcane and just nonsense to continue the system,'' he said.


But Democrat Michael Bragman, the assembly majority leader in New York's Legislature, saw some good in the system. He said it makes sure presidential candidates will not campaign only in the heavily populated states.


"I am not in favor of a candidate concentrating his or her efforts in three or four or five populous states,'' he said.


Anyway, said Mary Jean Bennett, an Arkansas elector, there's something comfortable about the Electoral College. "I guess I'm just old-fashioned,'' she said.