2012-09-21 / Front Page
Royal High student chosen for state’s Electoral College
Tumbeiro will be part of state delegation should President Obama carry popular vote
Chris Tumbeiro took the podium inside the crowded library at Royal High School. The who’s who of Simi Valley public education were there, from the superintendant of the district to board members. Congressional candidate Lee Rogers was also in attendance.
Tumbeiro could utter only a single word.
“Wow,” said the 18-year-old senior.
They had all come together to celebrate Tumbeiro’s appointment by Rogers to the Electoral College for the State of California. Should President Barack Obama carry the state’s popular vote in the Nov. 6 presidential election, Tumbeiro will become the first high school student in American history to cast an official vote for the presidency.
The Electoral College is the process by which the president of the United States is selected. There are 538 electors in the country, with 55 coming from California—one for each of the state’s 53 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and its two seats in the U.S. Senate.
A majority of 270 electoral votes are required to elect the president. Electorates in each state often follow the voting of the populace, but it is these 538 men and women who truly pick the president.
“I was really shocked to know that I’d be a part of this process,” Tumbeiro said. “I’m really excited at the opportunity.”
The electorates for California will meet in Sacramento on Dec. 17, where—should Obama win the state—Tumbeiro will cast his vote.
The appointment of the California electorates is put in the hands of the candidates with the largest number of votes in the primaries of their districts. For the Democrats, Rogers is that person in California’s 25th district.
“The typical way it’s done for the Democrats is to pick a prominent member of the party,” Rogers said. “I thought it was a good opportunity to choose someone who can learn from this.”
To qualify for the Electoral College one must be a registered voter and at least 18 years old. Tumbeiro is a registered Democrat. Rogers picked him for the job to execute one simple task.
“I’m sending him there to vote for President Obama and Vice President Biden,” Rogers said. “That’s what’s expected of him.”
Rogers originally approached Brian Dennert, a social sciences teacher at Royal, with his idea. Dennert immediately thought of Tumbeiro, a student in his Advanced Placement government class.
“We wanted somebody with honor and high character,” said Dennert during the Sept. 14 event inside the Royal library. “When I knew Chris fit the qualifications, I didn’t have to look any further.”
Dennert said the appointment was about more than Tumbeiro.
“As a teacher, I’ve taught all these things as theory,” Dennert said. “But now it’s in practice. As an AP government teacher, this is the biggest thing that could ever happen to me.”
Dennert said he hopes the appointment will serve as a learning opportunity for the entire class. He’s in contact with Sacramento to gain approval for his entire fourth-period AP government group to join the electorate in Sacramento.
Tumbeiro is on the same page.
“I’m really happy all the students in my class can experience this with me,” he said.
Tumbeiro plans to attend Moorpark College after graduation from Royal in the spring. He is still undecided about his major but said his two loves are law and film. He’s not sure what the future—including his date in Sacramento—holds.
“It’s very hard for me to imagine what it’s going to be like,” Tumbeiro said. “The only thing I know for sure is I’m going to vote.”