Electoral College poised to make Obama's reelection official

U.S. President Barack Obama smiles as he leaves the 7th East Asia Summit in Phnom-Penh on November 20, 2012. Mr. Obama was set to defy Beijing's protests and use the summit to raise concerns over South China Sea rows that have sent diplomatic and trade shockwaves across the region.

While 121 million voters went to the polls and chose President Obama to serve a second term on November 6, those results are not yet official. They could however, become more formalized today.Members of the Electoral College, the true presidential deciders, convene in state capitals around the country throughout the day to choose the next president.

Remember, the Twelfth Amendment mandates that he president and vice president be chosen by the Electoral College, not the people. While representatives of the Electoral College are not obligated to vote the way their state did, they usually do. In some states, punishment for not following the will of the people consists of fines or being replaced by an alternate elector. The National Archives says electors follow the advice of the people 99 percent of the time.

Based on the vote breakdown in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, Mr. Obama won 332 electoral votes to Mitt Romney's 206. A majority of 270 are necessary to win the presidency.

The newly elected Congress meets on January 6 to certify the results. Objections can be made in writing if the objectors have the support of one senator and one member of Congress.

National Journal reports that Republicans are working to change how the Electoral College works. In all states except for Nebraska and Maine, the system is winner-take-all. Using Republican majorities in state legislatures, the proposal would allocate votes based on the outcome in each congressional district, instead of the results of the entire state. That would give Republicans an advantage as Republican presidential candidates often win more, but sparsely populated, congressional districts but can lose the state because Democratic candidates tend to win fewer, densely populated districts.

  • Leigh Ann Caldwell On Twitter»

    Leigh Ann Caldwell is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.