Electoral College formally picks Obama, Biden

The Associated Press
Posted Dec. 15, 2008, at 10:16 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Presidential electors in Maine cast all four of their votes for Barack Obama, winner of the Nov. 4 popular vote in Maine, as the Electoral College met in the State House and in state capitals across the country.

Joe Biden received all four of Maine’s electoral votes for vice president.

Monday’s vote largely was ceremonial, since the outcome after the Nov. 4 voting has long been known. But the vote by electors is required by the Constitution to complete the process of electing the president and vice president.

On Election Day, Democrat Obama won in Maine with 58 percent of the vote to 41 percent for Republican John McCain. He also won in both congressional districts, an important distinction in Maine, one of only two states that allow electoral votes to be divided by district.

Monday’s formalities in Maine were carried out, as law stipulates, in the House of Representatives and took a little over a half-hour to complete. Before the event, friends and relatives of the electors and others who wanted to witness a historic event milled about, snapped pictures and chatted with one another.

The event opened with Jill Duson, Portland’s first black mayor and the elector representing the 1st Congressional District, singing the national anthem.

The electors also chose Duson as their president for the function. The 2nd District elector was Samuel Shapiro of Waterville, a former state treasurer and longtime Democratic activist. Robert O’Brien of Peaks Island and Tracie Reed of Portland were the two at-large electors.

In remarks from the rostrum, Duson drew attention to the historical significance of the election of America’s first black president.

Noting the cultural changes that have occurred since she attended a segregated school as a child, Duson said her place as head of a state’s electoral college electing a black president was stunning.

“What in the world am I supposed to say?” said Duson. “I say Amen, hallelujah and well done.”

http://bangordailynews.com/2008/12/15/politics/electoral-college-formally-picks-obama-biden/ printed on August 21, 2014