Vermont’s electoral votes officially cast for Kerry

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(Host) Vermont’s three members of the Electoral College cast their votes for Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry at a special Statehouse ceremony on Monday. After formally recording their votes, the group called for the abolition of the Electoral College.

VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports.

(Secretary of State Deb Markowitz calling the meeting to order) “I hereby convene Vermont’s meetings of the Electoral College. Vermont’s Electors are here. We’re going to begin by giving you all the oath of allegiance and the oath of office.”

(Kinzel) Just after 11 o’clock in the morning, Secretary of State Deb Markowitz formally called the meeting to order. The ceremony was similar to events that were held all across the country to mark the official tabulation of electoral votes for the presidential campaign.

The number of votes allocated to each state depends on the size of its congressional delegation. Because Vermont has two senators and one House member, it has three electoral votes. Since Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry carried Vermont, the three electors were Democrats; Billi Gosh of Brookfield, Paul Highberg of Woodstock and Jeffry Taylor of Clarendon.

The voting was done in two steps. First the electors marked their presidential ballots for John Kerry and then they were handed separate vice presidential ballots and they all voted for John Edwards.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Billi Gosh called for the elimination of the Electoral College. Instead, Gosh said the presidential election should be decided by a national popular vote:

(Gosh) “I personally feel that it is an anachronism. It was started back when our founders were writing the Constitution and they felt to have the support of the small states they needed to have a vehicle like the Electoral College in the Constitution. They were also worried about the rabble rousing consequences of a popular vote being the vote that would stand. So we have the Electoral College. This flies in the face of how we feel about democracy and why our country was formed because it’s not one person one vote.”

(Kinzel) Jeffry Taylor, who was also an elector during the 2000 presidential election, said he feels the Electoral College is an anti-democratic institution:

(Taylor) “It is a disproportionate voting power for people in small states. This is nothing to be proud of – it distorts our political process, it violates our deeply held conviction that there be equality in vote for everybody.”

(Kinzel) Taylor says he’s also concerned about allegations of voting fraud in Ohio and he says the Vermont electors may ask members of the state’s congressional delegation to object to the certification of the Ohio ballots when Congress formally tallies the electoral votes in January.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.

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