Speaking of the presidential election: Republican Party presidential electors gathered this morning in the Old Supreme Court chamber at the Capitol to cast their ballots for Donald Trump for president in a process overseen by the secretary of state.
A summary from the secretary of state’s office explained the process:
In each year in which a President and Vice President of the United States are chosen, each political party or group in the state shall choose by its state convention electors of President and Vice President of the United States. The state convention of the party or group shall also choose electors at large if any are to be appointed for the state. The state convention of the party or group, by its chair and secretary, shall certify to the Secretary of State the total list of electors together with electors at large so chosen.
The electors shall meet at the office of the Secretary of State, in a room to be designated by him or her in the State Capitol Building, at the time appointed by the laws of the United States at the hour of 10:00 a.m. of that day, and give their votes for President and for Vice President of the United States.
In case any person duly elected an elector of President and Vice President of the United States shall fail to attend at the Capitol on the day on which his or her vote is required to be given, it shall be the duty of the electors of President and Vice President attending at the time and place to appoint persons to fill the vacancies.
The process entails an oath, appointment of officers and the signing of six certificates of election for both president and vice president. One is sent by registered mail to the President of the Senate; two to the archivist of the U.S.; two to the state’s secretary of state, and one to the chief judge of the federal district court in Little Rock. The votes that go to the Senate are collected and not opened until a joint session of Congress for the purpose, ordinarily on Jan. 6.
Arkansas’s six electors, pledged to vote for Trump, are: Jonathan Barnett, Joelle Fulmer, Keith Gibson, Tommy Land, John Nabholz and Sharon Wright.
In 2012, it was arranged for Appeals Court Judge Rhonda Wood, then preparing to run for Arkansas Supreme Court, to handle the oath administration. Judges nominally run in non-partisan elections, but Wood had long identified as a Republican and used Mike Huckabee as a campaign surrogate. She won her seat with the help of major nursing home money and continued grassroots Republican politicking. In 2012, the electors from Arkansas cast their ballots for Mitt Romney. They’ll have a winner this year.
UPDATE: Yes, the votes were cast for Donald Trump and Mike Pence. About a dozen protesters demonstrated at the Capitol and during the meeting, prompting an admonishment from Secretary of State Mark Martin, according to KARK/Fox’s Drew Petrimoulx. One demonstrator was escorted out by Capitol police after shouting, “You voted for a homophobe.” Another shouted: “You voted for a fascist.” A defender shouted: “He’s our president.” Yep.
PS: A new McClatchy-Marist poll says the majority of registered voters (52%) think the president should be chosen by popular vote. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by almost 3 million, but will lose the electoral college vote.
PPS: Arkansas’s Mark Martin again tapped Republican-identifying Rhonda Wood to handle the swearing in. She bragged about it all over social media, with photos of her swearing in each Republican individually.