By Patty Nieberg, The Associated Press/Report for America
Colorado’s nine Democratic presidential electors cast their votes for Joe Biden at the state Capitol on Monday.
The vote formally seals Biden’s win in Colorado, where he beat President Donald Trump by about 14 percentage points or nearly 400,000 votes.
Electors met in all 50 states and the District of Columbia to cast their ballots for the presidential election on Monday — the date set by law for the meeting of the Electoral College. The results will be sent to Washington and tallied in a joint session of Congress on Jan. 6.
The electors’ votes drew special attention this year because of Trump’s refusal to concede the election and his baseless allegations of election fraud. By Monday afternoon, Biden cleared the 270-electoral-vote mark to formalize his national presidential victory.
During the Denver ceremony, Democratic Gov. Jared Polis commended state election officials for Colorado having the second-highest voter turnout in the nation, behind only Minnesota.
“These numbers represent Colorado’s commitment to our democratic republic, to doing our part to elect the next president and vice president of the United States,” Polis said.
He also praised Colorado’s mail-in-voting system, which the state adopted in 2013 and which has had bipartisan support.
“This election also confirms what we already knew — that Colorado’s robust election system is easy, effective and secure,” Polis said.
First-time elector Alan Kennedy, an attorney and doctoral student at the University of Colorado-Denver, said he hoped Monday’s nationwide vote brings acceptance of Biden’s presidential victory.
“I teach administrative law, I teach about the Constitution and my students were extremely worried that Trump would steal this election,” Kennedy said. “And everything we’ve seen has borne that out — that President Trump has repeatedly tried to steal the election despite the constitution, despite the electoral process.”
Polly Baca, a four-time elector who served in various positions in the administrations of Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, said this election was different for two reasons: Casting an electoral vote while wearing masks to wield off the coronavirus, and Trump’s refusal to concede.
Both Baca and Kennedy said they were critical of the Electoral College system and would prefer that presidential candidates be elected by popular vote alone.
“I serve as an elector in order to educate the American populace. Our voters think they vote directly for president and vice president. They don’t,” Baca said.
In November, Colorado residents voted to remain in the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact — a coalition of 16 states and the District of Columbia that favor awarding state electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote, rather than the winners of individual state votes for president.
Nieberg is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.