politics

Oregon Electors Stick With Hillary Clinton

By Chris Lehman (OPB)
Salem, Oregon Dec. 20, 2016 12:15 a.m.
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Before the Electoral College vote, protesters gathered on the front steps of the Oregon Capitol.

Before the Electoral College vote, protesters gathered on the front steps of the Oregon Capitol.

Chris Lehman / OPB

All of Oregon's Electoral College votes went to Hillary Clinton. The seven Democrats who gathered at the state Capitol on Monday stayed true to the candidate selected by the majority of Oregon voters last month.

Before the ceremony, anti-Trump demonstrators gathered on the front steps of the Capitol and shouted slogans like "follow the will of the people" and "popular vote."

The protest wasn't aimed so much at the seven Oregon electors as it was a criticism of the Electoral College system as a whole; a system that gave Donald Trump the White House despite losing the popular vote nationally.

Cindy Gyurgyik of Silverton said she's looking ahead to the next election in 2020.

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"For me personally I'm just going to stay strong for the next four years and make sure the message stays strong that everybody feels protected, that he doesn't back us up 50 years and all of the rights that we've gained over the years," said Gyurgyik.

Inside, the normally low-key Electoral College process mostly stuck with the script.

The seven Oregon electors take the oath of office in the Oregon Senate chambers.

The seven Oregon electors take the oath of office in the Oregon Senate chambers.

Chris Lehman / OPB

But one elector, Democratic Party of Oregon chair Frank Dixon, said he and his fellow electors were formally objecting to the day's proceedings. In part, he said, "to allow further inquiry of the electoral process given the interference by the Russian government in the election process."

Cheers from the packed gallery were quickly gaveled down, and Dixon removed any element of suspense by clarifying that he and the other electors still planned to cast their votes for Hillary Clinton.

And while Donald Trump won the national Electoral College vote, it still marked the first time Oregon electors cast their vote for a woman.

That wasn't lost on elector Karen Packer.

"It feels outstanding," she said. "I wish it would have been under more positive circumstances."

Packer said she'd love to see a woman run for president again, but added it's far too soon to start thinking about specific candidates.

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