Electors formally cast ballots | NevadaAppeal.com

Electors formally cast ballots

Associated Press Writer

Nevada’s five Electoral College members cast ballots Monday for Democrats Barack Obama and Joe Biden for president and vice president, in line with a Nov. 4 mandate from state voters.

The Nevadans were among 538 members of the Electoral College who voted in state capitals across the country to formally close the books on the historic 2008 elections.

Secretary of State Ross Miller, who presided over Monday’s voting, singled out one of the presidential electors, Ruby Duncan of Las Vegas, noting her efforts as a black welfare mother who became a civil rights activist in the early 1970s trying to help poor women and children.

Duncan, 76, who grew up in the segregated South and moved to Las Vegas in 1952, said she never thought she’d be able to vote for a black president, adding, “I’m so grateful that I had the chance

to do so.”

Tahis Castro of Reno said the opportunity to serve as an elector was important to her since she’s a native of Costa Rica and has been a U.S. citizen for 11 years.

“Only in America can something like this happen, that somebody from a small country like Costa Rica, in Central America, can be part of the electoral process at this level. Being at the grass roots and elevated to this position is quite an honor.”

The state’s other presidential electors were Ron Hibble of Pioche, Theresa Navarro of Reno and state Sen. Maggie Carlton, D-Las Vegas. All were selected at the Democratic Party’s state convention last May.

There’s no constitutional provision or federal law requiring electors to vote in line with the popular vote in their state. But a state law requires electors to follow the popular vote. Obama defeated Republican John McCain in Nevada by nearly 121,000 votes, 533,736 to 412,827, a 55-43 percent margin.

The final nationwide tally gave Obama 365 electoral votes, well over the 270 he needed to win, while McCain gets 173 elector votes.

Nevada had voted Republican in the 2000 and 2004 presidential races. But the state’s Democrats had resounding successes in federal and state races in the 2008 elections as a result of the two-year-long, well-funded campaign that led to Obama’s victory.

Obama worked hard in Nevada, making 20 stops in the state compared with less than half that number by McCain. Obama started early, following Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s successful lobbying for his party to make Nevada’s caucus one of the first primary contests on the national calendar.

A huge shift in voter registration helped Obama. In the 2004 presidential elections, there were about 4,400 more Republicans than Democrats registered in Nevada. In 2008, there were nearly 112,000 more Democrats than GOP voters in the state.