THE NATIONAL ELECTION will be held on Tuesday Nov. 2, 2004. Registered voters cast ballots to select a particular candidate, but they are really voting for a slate of electors who will meet later to choose the next president and vice president.

There are 538 electors in that infamous institution known as the electoral college. Each state is allotted the same number of delegates as it has members in both branches of Congress. Washington D.C. gets 3 electors.12

Political parties in each state submit a list of names of possible delegates who have pledged to support the party's candidate. The party that wins the popular vote in a state sends its electors to vote for president and vice president on Dec. 15.

The votes are sealed and the president of the senate will read them aloud before Congress on Jan. 6.13