Ohio electors make Obama win official


COLUMBUS — With 18 signatures on six certificates, the real presidential election in Ohio took place quietly Monday on the floor of the state Senate.

For all intents and purposes, the millions of votes cast on Nov. 6 sent away these 18 members of the Ohio Electoral College with instructions on how they should vote -- for Barack Obama.

“It’s very humbling…,” said Michael Friedman, of Springfield Township, the electoral vote for the 5th Congressional District. “Being a political junkie, if you will, this is the pinnacle — to work for a man like Barack Obama and then have your dream come true to actually be the one to cast your ballot.”

The 18 votes of the Ohio Electoral College — one for each of 16 congressional districts plus two at-large votes cast by former Gov. Ted Strickland and Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern — will be delivered to Washington to be added to those of the rest of the nation to formally re-elect the Democratic president.

“Teaching for 38 years in Ohio’s public schools, teaching social studies, and teaching about the Electoral College, which for many of my students was very hard to understand, to actually be an elector is a tremendously humbling thing,” said William Young, of Green Springs, representing the 4th Congressional District.

Some winner-takes-all states have begun looking at changing how they award electoral votes, apportioning them according to congressional districts.

“For this election where Obama won by 166,000 votes, (Republican Mitt) Romney would have gotten twice the number of electoral votes,” said Lucas County Treasurer Wade Kapszukiewicz, casting the 9th Congressional District vote.

“I worry that there are a number of things that Republican governors and Republican legislators around the country are going to start trying over the next five to 10 years because the demographics of this country are changing so substantially in a way that is detrimental to the Republican Party and favorable to the Democratic Party,” he said.

There has been no such proposal in Ohio.

“We have a lot of other problems in our country that are more important than ‘fixing’ or changing this, because this has worked for 230 years successfully, and our nation has endured using this system, and we ought to be very careful before we fix something that’s not broken,” said Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted, the state’s top elections official.

Mr. Redfern, who will rejoin the Ohio House in January representing Ottawa and Erie counties, noted that Mr. Obama’s election marked the first time a Democrat has won Ohio with better than 50 percent of the popular vote since Franklin D. Roosevelt.

“We are one family in this great country of ours,” Mr. Strickland said. “We are black and white. We are brown. We are Republicans and Democrats. We are conservatives and liberals. We are gays and straights. We are from every part of this great country of ours — every region, small town, large city, rural areas.

“But there is something that binds Americans together that I believe is unique among the nations of the earth, and we are celebrating a part of that uniqueness today,” he said.

Contact Jim Provance at: jprovance@theblade.com or 614-221-0496.