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No drama for Montana electors Monday – just three votes for Trump

Posted at 4:27 PM, Dec 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-13 18:02:42-05

HELENA — Montana’s three Republican electors will meet Monday at the Capitol to cast their votes for President Trump, at a ceremony without the drama expected in some other states.

“I’m glad it wasn’t hard to figure out,” remarked elector and state Rep. Brad Tschida of Missoula, referring to Trump’s decisive victory in the state Nov. 3.

“We are bound by what the voters do in Montana,” added Thelma Baker, also of Missoula, who will be casting her presidential electoral vote for the sixth consecutive time, going back to 2000. “I’m just proud to cast my vote and I’m proud to be an elector.”

Trump won Montana in the presidential race, defeating Democrat Joe Biden by 57 percent to 41 percent.

Electors across the country are scheduled to cast their votes Monday in their respective states and give Biden a 306-232 electoral vote victory over President Trump. Those votes will be forwarded to Congress, which will certify the results in January.

In states won by Biden, electors chosen by Democrats will cast their ballots, while Republican-chosen electors will vote in the states won by the president.

In some states where Biden won a narrow victory, such as Michigan and Wisconsin, security has been increased for electors as they prepare to gather at state Capitols to cast their vote.

However, some electors have said their relative obscurity has shielded them from much attention.

In Montana, the three leading parties – Democrats, Republicans and Libertarians – each chose three electors this summer to cast votes, depending on which candidate won the state.

Republicans chose Tschida, Baker and Becky Stockton of Helena. They’ll attend a Monday afternoon ceremony at a room in the Capitol and cast their votes. Stockton also was an elector in 2016, voting for President Trump.

Baker, 88, who suffered a stroke this summer and is still in a wheelchair, said she’ll be making the trip to Helena. A longtime local party activist, Baker has voted for the Republican winner of Montana in 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016.

In the past, electors have sometimes made an occasion of the event, meeting afterwards for dinner or other festivities, she said. But with the Covid-19 pandemic still afoot, Baker said she expects electors will just cast their vote Monday and be on their way.

Tschida said electors aren’t legally bound to vote for the presidential candidate who won the state, but that he can’t imagine why they wouldn’t.

“I can’t think of any circumstances that I would strongly consider doing it,” he said. “I would find it difficult to go against the will of the people.”