Colorado casts its 9 electoral votes for Obama
December 15, 2008
DENVER ” Vivian Stovall was washing her hair at home Monday morning when history called, so she hurried to the Colorado Capitol to help cast the state’s nine Electoral College votes for President-elect Barack Obama.
Stovall, chairwoman of the Colorado Democratic Party’s African-American Initiative, was a last-minute replacement for an elector who was kept away by an unspecified illness. Gov. Bill Ritter’s staff phoned Stovall to relay the invitation to stand in.
“I’m so honored, that’s why I’m still in a daze. I can’t believe it,” Stovall said. “To me, it’s just the best because of all these years being involved in the political process, I don’t think I could do any better,” she said.
Electoral College voters across the country were casting their ballots on Monday. Each state gets the same number of electoral votes as it has U.S. senators and representatives.
The outcome of Colorado’s balloting was never in doubt because state law requires that all the state’s Electoral College votes go to the winner of the popular vote.
Wellington Webb, another elector and Denver’s first and only black mayor, said the chance to cast an electoral vote for the first black president was the honor of a lifetime.
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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would have been proud, Webb said. “He would find the dream fulfilled,” he said.
Traditionally, the only name on Colorado’s Electoral College ballot is the winner of the popular vote, but Secretary of State Mike Coffman included Republican candidate John McCain and others this year.
Coffman, a Republican, said “it just made sense” to include the others, even though electors were barred from choosing any other candidate.
He said the ballot language was approved by Attorney General John Suthers, also a Republican.
Coffman said he learned over the weekend that Margaret Atencio, one of the electors, might not be able to attend.
Coffman said he could not find a precedent under state law. Trey Rogers, Ritter’s legal counsel, said the law provided for other electors to choose an alternate. They chose Stovall.
Officials said Atencio listened to the ceremony by phone but didn’t participate.
The Democratic slate of electors was chosen at the party’s state convention last summer.
The other Colorado electors were former state Sen. Terry Phillips, Pitkin County Democratic Party Chairwoman Camilla Auger, Weld County Democratic Party Vice Chairwoman Pam Shaddock, Jennifer Trujillo-Sanchez, Don Strickland, Ann Knollman and Polly Baca.