Trump protestors demonstrate outside of the Ohio Capitol Building on Monday, December 20, 2016. (Robert McGraw/WOUB)

Ohio Electoral College Confirms Trump Pick

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COLUMBUS — While protesters withstood the cold temperatures outside the Ohio Statehouse, members of the 54th Ohio Electoral College inside praised the Republican President-Elect and ignored “intimidation” from protesters.

Electors sign their ballots at the 54th Ohio Electoral College convention.  Susan Tebben / WOUB News
Electors sign their ballots at the 54th Ohio Electoral College convention.
Susan Tebben / WOUB News

Several protesters walked in a circle outside the capitol on Monday just before the Electoral College met in the Senate chambers. Signs asking the college to send the vote to the U.S. House of Representatives, and chants of “hey-hey, ho-ho, Donald Trump has got to go” rang out.

Clintonville resident Sylvia Efta said while she could have been at home baking Christmas cookies or wrapping presents, she instead stood outside, hat and coat showing anti-Trump buttons and pins.

“America is too important,” Efta said. “I just couldn’t stand by and watch them put a man like (Trump) in office without doing something.”

In the end, the 18 electors unanimously cast their ballots for President-Elect Donald Trump and Vice President-Elect Mike Pence, formally naming them the winners of the Ohio general election race.

Many speeches were given before the vote was conducted, including from Governor John Kasich, who was present to witness the vote and confirm it.

“Being an elector…shouldn’t be taken for granted,” Kasich said.

Reports from several media outlets said that some electors were thinking of changing their vote and voting for Kasich, something the governor has publicly discouraged.

Secretary of State John Husted oversaw the proceedings, noting that the margin of victory for Trump over Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton was approximately 450,000 in the state.

“Election day in our state was one of the smoothest in our history,” Husted said.

Several members of the Republican Party spoke on the merits of Trump and the importance of not being “intimidated by…tasteless acts,” as State Rep. Christina Hagan, R-Alliance, put it.

“This is the day…that we will confirm the transformation of our government,” Hagan said.

Hagan was an elector, but then stepped down after her position as an elector was questioned in court.

State Treasurer Josh Mandel served as the keynote speaker, praising Trump supporters for standing up to perceived challenges to 2nd Amendment gun rights, overzealous business regulation and a bad perception of law enforcement.

“One of the things that felt backward (during the election season) is cops were made to feel like the bad guys,” Mandel said, deviating from prepared remarks. “Law enforcement…should be given the benefit of the doubt.”

Under President Trump, people “will be proud to be who they are,” Mandel said. He also said protesters of the election should be celebrated for exerting their 1st Amendment rights.

Chairman of the Electoral College Ed Crawford, of Cuyahoga County, said he took the mail he received asking him to reconsider his vote and “threw it in a corner.”

“I think we’ve picked the right man at the right time,” Crawford said.

After the vote was cast, cheers erupted in the chamber, as well as in an overflow room where the vote was being projected on a screen.

Marietta native LeeAnn Johnson told WOUB after the vote that she was proud to be a part of the process, and proud to cast her vote for Trump. Johnson is co-chair of the Women for Trump Coalition and works with organizations to bring more women into the political sphere.

“…(Trump) has a history of empowering women and pulling them up to the top of his organizations,” Johnson said.

As for supporting Trump, Johnson said she has high hopes for the president-elect’s impact in the Marietta region.

“We need jobs, and we really do want to focus on the manufacturing aspect, but we have to protect our coal miners too,” Johnson said. “Mr. Trump is going to protect them.”