Pennsylvania's electoral college members have made November's election results official by casting their votes for Barack Obama for president. Mr. Obama won all 20 of the commonwealth's electoral votes by defeating Republican Mitt Romney by about 310,000 votes out of the more than 5.7 million ballots cast.
The 20 people, who took part in the ceremony today in the House chamber at the Capitol, were indirectly chosen by Pennsylvania voters, but it was the Obama campaign that selected individual electors for the official count. The vote was unanimous in choosing Mister Obama for president and Joe Biden for vice president.
Governor Corbett said the meeting of the commonwealth's 57th Electoral College is a celebration of the country's government.
"I am a member of the Republican Party and you electors here are members of the Democratic Party," Corbett said. "Your vote today was for a candidate of your party. This is a peaceful decision as compared to what we see in other countries. And we should always have it that way."
Eight of the electors were from Allegheny County: PA Democratic Party Chairman Jim Burn, State Senator Jay Costa, Representative Frank Dermody, County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, County Councilwoman Amanda Green Hawkins, attorney Clifford Levine, attorney Lazar Palnick and consultant Cynthia Shapira. The electoral delegation also included State Treasurer Rob McCord and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter.
Levine, a lawyer for the state Senate Democrats, was named president of the 57th Electoral College. During remarks to the electors, he warned against proposed plans to change the way Pennsylvania allocates its electoral votes-- from a winner-take-all method, to one that reflects the proportion of the popular vote won by each candidate.
Supporters say it would ensure those who do cast ballots for the candidate who gets a minority of the vote will still be heard. A similar plan failed to gather steam last year. Under that proposal, candidates would get one electoral vote for each Congressional district where they won the most votes. The final two electoral votes would go to the candidate who received the most votes statewide.
Levine says this latest version should be defeated.
"We must not diminish the voice of Pennsylvania’s voters on a national stage because of the frustration of a few with the outcome of a particular election."
Electors in all 50 states gathered today to cast their votes which will be sent to Washington to be opened in a joint session of Congress in January.