RALEIGH — President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden have officially been re-elected, no thanks to the electors who traveled from across the state for a ceremony Monday at the Capitol.
In the Old Hall of the House, Republican Party electors officially put the state’s Electoral College votes – all 15 of them – behind Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.
While North Carolina voted for the losing ticket, the event still had plenty of ceremonial and educational value.
Members of the Supreme Court attended. So did a few members of the Council of State and other government executives.
Children involved with the North Carolina 4-H Club, leaders from the National Guard, and representatives from France, Moldova and Sweden were also on hand to receive a civics lesson from Secretary of State Elaine Marshall.
Marshall, because of the office she holds, is constitutionally required to preside over the process.
“When the voters of North Carolina voted this past November, they were actually voting to pick this slate of electors instead of voting directly for president and vice president,” she explained.
Romney-Ryan was favored by a final count of 92,004 votes, so the GOP picked two at-large electors and one from each congressional district for a total of 15.
Marshall, a Democrat, invoked words from Romney’s own concession speech.
“At a time like this, we can’t risk partisan bickering and political posturing,” she said.
“We look to Democrats and Republicans in government at all levels to put the people before politics.”
After Chief Justice Sarah Parker administered the oath of office, Marshall handed over the gavel to Robert Levy, an elector from Southern Pines who acted as president of the Electoral College.
Levy called on Art Pope, a conservative politico and major financial contributor to Republican causes, to motion for Romney to be selected as the presidential nominee.
Pope described Romney as a successful businessman who has created jobs, as an effective and popular governor in Massachusetts, and as a leader in nonprofit and philanthropic endeavors.
Pope even invoked the same Romney quote that Marshall did: “At a time like this, we can’t risk partisan bickering,” Pope said. He said later the event was more a testament to democracy than bittersweet.
The event marked the 56th meeting of the Electoral College in North Carolina, one fewer than most of the original states, because delegates to the Constitutional Convention refused to join the Union absent the Bill of Rights.
In statehouses around the country on Monday, similar ceremonies were held. The final count shows Obama-Biden received nearly 3.5 million votes more than Romney-Ryan, and that the Democratic nominees picked up 332 electoral votes compared with the Republican nominees’ 206.