I think/understand there are three (or four) key dates here.

  1. After the votes have been counted for each state, the electors will be appointed if the results are conclusive.
  2. On December 13rd, 2016, the electors will officially be appointed.
  3. On December 19th, 2016 the electors will vote for President/ Vice president.
  4. On January 6th, 2016 the House of Representatives will count the electoral votes.

Between dates 3 and 4 the votes of the electoral college are supposed to be sealed, so I assume the actual contents of the votes are known only to the electors.

However, to what extent is it usually known at an earlier stage the outcome will be? Of course, if every elector is faithful it would be known at date 2 (or even 1), but how often will faithlessness of electors "leak" before the final count? Is it customary for them to announce what they've voted before the count, or are they expected to keep that secret until the count?

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Yes, it will usually be known before the final count.


2004

The faithless elector from Minnesota in 2004 was known on the day of the voting as the State's Secretary of State counted the votes and announced the vote tally.

One of Minnesota's 10 presidential electors broke from the pack and cast a vote Monday for John Edwards, the Democratic vice presidential running mate for John Kerry.

[...]

Once all votes were in, Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer and an aide pulled them out, counted them and announced the total. A tally sheet was sent to Congress, which announces nationwide totals in January.

Source: http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/2004/12/13_ap_electors/


2008

Politico reported in 2008 that "there were no reports of faithless electors Monday".


2012

Fox News reported the voting procedure in some states in 2012.


About the voting

The electoral college voting is organised by the respective states and some states allows the public to watch them vote.

May I attend the meeting of my State’s Electors to watch them vote?

Generally, each state’s Electors vote at their respective state capitols. Each state determines whether or not the voting is open to the public. To find out if your state’s meeting of Electors is open to the public and if so, what the process is to view the vote, contact your Governor’s Office or your Secretary of State.

Source: https://www.archives.gov/federal-register/electoral-college/faq.html


In conclusion,

Whether or not the vote tally will be known depends on the particular state. The Secretary of State may choose to announce the vote tally while certifying the vote.

However, usually faithless electors will be reported on the day of the voting (Dec 19) since news organisations will be following the voting in each state. I believe that there will be more hype this year due to reports of potential faithless electors.

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