Delegates from each state will cast their votes for president on the first day of the Republican National Convention on Monday.
The “rolling roll call of the states” is the formal process by which delegates cast votes on behalf of their respective states and paves the way for the nomination of the party’s presidential candidate, which will officially take place on the final day of the convention next Thursday.
Convention spokesman Kyle Downey said the states will vote in alphabetical order, as opposed to the occasional approach of trying to rig the process so a specific state — for example, Mitt Romney’s home state of Massachusetts — puts him over the threshold he needs to secure the nomination.
The vote is also generally held later in the convention — usually on the third of the four days.
The process used to be far more entertaining and important, with the party uncertain who its nominee would be at the time it went to convention. There was some talk early this year of a competitive convention if the GOP nominating contest dragged on too long, but it’s clear now that Romney will be the party’s nominee.
All of Romney’s opponents except Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and Rick Santorum have released their delegates, with Newt Gingrich releasing his today.
Santorum is expected to release his delegates this week; Paul is not expected to release his.
Some have suggested Paul could win as many as 500 of the 2,286 delegates at stake. But those close to the situation suggest the number will be closer to 200, and Paul campaign manager Jesse Benton says the campaign has identified 373 delegates and alternates (alternates generally don’t vote).
“We have identified every RNC delegate and alternate, both bound to us, bound to Romney or unbound, and have 373 delegates and alternates that support Dr. Paul,” Benton said.
That’s about the only drama that will take place Monday. The rest is basically a formality and a campaign rally.
While the vote will pave the way for Romney to officially win the nomination, he won’t actually accept that nomination until Thursday. That allows the party to continue spending primary funds (which it cannot legally do after he’s officially nominated) during the intervening three-day period and makes for a grand finale at the end of the convention.