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Electoral College reps cast votes next month at Capitol

Electoral College reps cast votes next month at Capitol

'The real election of the president in Missouri'

November 20th, 2016 by Sam Richardson in Missouri News

When Missourians went to the polls Nov. 8, they voted for Donald J. Trump and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence to be their next president and vice president of the United States of America.

Or so they thought.

After all, the Trump-Pence ticket won Missouri over Hillary Clinton and Sen. Tim Kaine, 56-37 percent, 1.585 million votes to 1.054 million. Nationwide, Trump leads Clinton 290-232 in Electoral College votes with 16 votes yet to be certified. It requires 270 to win the presidency.

"The real election of the president in Missouri will occur when the Electoral College representatives meet at the Capitol in December," said former Jefferson City mayor pro-tem and Republican Party activist Carolyn McDowell.

The 10 Missourians selected last summer by their fellow leaders of the Missouri Republican Party will meet at the Capitol at 2 p.m. Dec. 19 to sign historic documents and cast two votes, one each for president and vice president, per the U.S. Constitution.

One elector from each of the two dominant political parties was chosen at the eight Congressional District conventions, and two at-large delegates were selected at the state party conventions. The Republicans will meet to cast their ballots in the Electoral College vote, probably for Trump and Pence because those men won the popular vote in Missouri on Election Day.

McDowell cherishes memories of casting two ballots in the Electoral College in 1984 for the late President Ronald Reagan and in 2004 for former President George W. Bush. In 1984, the vote was taken in the Senate Lounge in the Capitol, and 20 years later, it was conducted in the House Lounge.

Next month, the Electoral College will meet in the office of Gov. Jay Nixon, according to Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander.

Despite the solemnity of the actual Electoral College vote, those who have cast ballots and those who have witnessed the event agree it is almost anti-climactic.

Jerry Dowell, a former aide in the Capitol and the Congress, and now director of government affairs for the Columbia Chamber of Commerce, was a Bush elector in 2004. Dowell, McDowell and Capitol historian Bob Priddy, the retired news director of Missourinet News, concurred the votes come and go in a matter of minutes.

Dowell said he wasn't sure where his commemorative picture was stored. McDowell said she knew where her pictures and copies of the Electoral College documents were stored, but she hadn't seen them in recent years.

A more prominent memory for her was the Jan. 9, 1997, Missouri Inaugural Parade for the late Gov. Mel Carnahan. She was scheduled to ride in the parade as the city's representative, only to have the motorized hoopla scrubbed by a heavy snowfall that day.

Priddy said, given the intense attention the media places on the role of the Electoral College, the actual signing of the documents in the state capitals hardly measures up.

The electors sign elaborate, oversized documents, pictures are taken and refreshments are served. Copies are made and distributed to the electors. And, like that, the Missourians' preference for president and vice president will have been duly registered. Those documents are placed in sealed tubes and forwarded to the president of the U.S. Senate.

Those participating in the Electoral College in Missouri this year are: Tim Dreste, of St. Louis; Janice DeWeese, of Fenton; Hector Maldonado, of Sullivan; Sherry Kuttenkuler, of Tipton; Sarah (Sally) Miller, of Kansas City; Tom Brown, of Kansas City; Cherry Warren, of Purdy; Scott Clark, of Jackson; Al Rostkoff, of Creve Coeur; and Casey Crawford, of Lee's Summit.