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State electors' votes formalize Obama's win


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POSTED: Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Even though casting her vote as part of the Electoral College was largely a formality, that did not make the moment any less significant for longtime Democrat Dolly Strazar.

The historic nature of casting her ballot for Barack Obama, the first Hawaii-born president, had Strazar all smiles yesterday.

“;Signing those papers, I now feel a direct part of the election of this man,”; said Strazar, a Democratic national committeewoman who was a superdelegate during the 2008 campaign.

“;I know my vote represented something, but now these (Electoral College ballots) get signed and go to the archivist of the United States and they're now a part of the papers of the U.S. government,”; she added. “;This made it really, really real for me, as a historian, and it's so exciting to be a part of that.”;

Hawaii's electors joined those around the country yesterday in formalizing the election of Obama and Joe Biden as president and vice president.

Although the election was decided last month, the results become official when the 538 members of the Electoral College vote in state capitals across the country. Sens. Obama and Biden defeated Sen. John McCain and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin 55 percent to 43 percent in the popular vote.

The state's electors, equal to its number of members in Congress, are selected by the political parties at their state conventions. The Democrats' electors were the ones who cast ballots in the Electoral College yesterday by virtue of their candidate winning the popular vote.

Although the U.S. Constitution does not require electors to cast a ballot for any particular candidate, state law requires Hawaii electors to vote for their party's candidate.

Strazar was joined by fellow Democrats Joy Lewis, Frances Kagawa and Amy Agbayani.

“;I was very humbled and proud to cast my vote, and one of Hawaii's four votes, for a son of Hawaii,”; Agbayani said.

“;For someone from Hawaii and someone who is part African-American to become this—the most powerful position, I think, in the world—given all the historical barriers, really takes quite a special person,”; she added.

The electoral ballots will be sent to Washington, D.C., where they will be counted by U.S. House and Senate members.