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Utah officially votes for McCain

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Mark Shurtleff, right, Stan Lockhart, Enid Greene Mickelsen, Scott Simpson and Richard Snelgrove mark their ballots, casting their votes for John McCain as president and Sarah Palin as vice president.

Mark Shurtleff, right, Stan Lockhart, Enid Greene Mickelsen, Scott Simpson and Richard Snelgrove mark their ballots, casting their votes for John McCain as president and Sarah Palin as vice president.

Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News

It's official. Utah electors want John McCain and Sarah Palin in office.

The lieutenant governor of Utah, Gary R. Herbert, convened the state's presidential electors to cast their ballots for the two highest offices in the nation. The electors met at the Capitol building inside the Supreme Court Chambers on Monday to vote.

Chosen at the Republican National Convention as electors were Enid Greene Mickelsen, Mark Shurtleff, Scott Simpson, Richard Snelgrove and Stan Lockhart. They were certified as electors by Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., according to Herbert.

After the Utah Highway Patrol presented the national and state colors, Herbert called for the electors to cast their votes for president and vice president. Each marked the choice on a paper ballot and signed the ballot. Herbert counted the votes, five each, and declared the electors' unanimous support of McCain and Palin.

Though president-elect Barack Obama won the presidency, the Electoral College is a formality needed to complete the election process, according to Herbert's chief of staff, Joe Demma.

"The public had their say. Until the Electoral College votes, we don't have an election," said Mickelson.

Herbert's office will now transmit Utah's votes to the U.S. Senate. They will be added to the votes of other states that supported the McCain/Palin ticket. The official results will be announced on Jan. 6 during a joint session of Congress.

Monday was the day in which all electoral colleges in the country cast their ballots. All of the votes were cast as expected, giving Obama a victory of 365 electoral votes to 173 for McCain.

Utah has five electors based on five congressional districts, according to Demma. Similarly, most states' electors match their congressional districts.

The electors are obligated to vote for whichever candidate takes the state by popular vote.

"They are bound to vote for the will of the people," he said.

An elector could vote contrary to the winner of the state, Demma said, but if that happened, that vote and voter would get disqualified in the state of Utah.


Contributing: Associated Press


E-mail: lwilde@desnews.com