Last month, as you know, we held an election for President of the United States.

What you might not realize — and what most Americans don’t realize — is that the final count on Nov. 6 was basically worthless. What counted that day was the number of electoral votes each candidate racked up, by winning individual states.

Each state-by-state victory elected specially-designated delegates — called “electors” — who meet in Washington, D.C., to cast the only actual votes for the presidency. The meeting of that group is known as “the Electoral College.” And that’s happening today.

Even so, those votes won’t be counted until the new Congress officially does so on Jan. 6. Only then will President Barack Obama be declared the winner of the election and, therefore, elected to a second term.

Clear? As mud, I’m sure.

Designer and illustrator Cait Palmiter of the Gannett Design Studio in Louisville, Ky., created this interesting page-one illustration today for a lead story about the Electoral College for the Journal & Courier of Lafayette, Ind.

Click for a much, much larger view.

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Cait tells us:

I was thrilled to get to work on it.

The editors at Lafayette requested an illustration, largely because there wasn’t any great art for it otherwise. They suggested something light, funny and tongue in cheek, maybe a play on words with the name Electoral College.

I ran with it, and after reading the article (which refers to how people don’t know much about this important part of the election process) thought that maybe Americans should go to college to learn about the Electoral College. So I sketched a box for a freshman at (Electoral) College.

It was fun to create a generic “America” college in my mind, with the Statue of Liberty wearing a foam finger, and textbooks for classes that had course numbers corresponding to the electoral votes Romney and Obama won. And, of course, a football and some cheer pom poms and a pennant!

I might add: This concept works particularly well in Lafayette because the town is home to a major college: Purdue University.

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Cait continues:

I did it all by hand (with a little Photoshop to stitch together the scan, since the drawing was too large for the scanner bed). I wish had a nice tablet for illos, but I love these chances to use my marker collection. I think there is something to be said for the hand-drawn aesthetic, too.

Absolutely.

A 2011 cum laude graduate of Michigan State University, Cait interned with the Wharton Center of the Performing Arts, Faith Catholic and the Huntsville Times before signing on in Louisville this past August.

A few samples of her work:

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Find her portfolio here and her Twitter feed here.

Average daily circulation for the Journal & Courier is 25,531.

That front page is from the Newseum. Of course.

Find the official Electoral College home page here. Find a Washington Post story about all this here.