Bittersweet day for young SCV presidential elector

By Kevin Kenney

Last update: Monday, December 19th, 2016

In the end, Natalie Fortman said, Monday was a bittersweet day for her.

The 20-year-old College of the Canyons sophomore from Valencia was one of the 55 California electors who gathered in the Assembly Chamber of the statehouse in Sacramento as the Electoral College, in votes all across the country, put the finishing touches on the November presidential election — formally telling Donald Trump, “You’re hired.”

While there had been rumblings in other states of possible “faithless’’ Republican electors going rogue and denying Trump the White House, there was no such drama in California — where Democrat Hillary Clinton won the popular vote in November and, on Monday, perfunctorily got all the state’s 55 electoral votes delivered to her column.

Several hundred protesters – carrying signs such as “Not my president” and “Electoral College: Save U.S.’’ — did gather outside the statehouse before the electors’ vote, but they were there more to make a larger anti-Trump point and perform for news cameras, Fortman indicated.

“I was just so excited to do it,’’ Fortman told The Signal when it was all over.

“When I saw Hillary Clinton’s name on the ballot, there was that feeling of somebody breaking a glass ceiling … but then not as much as you thought.

“I guess it was a happy moment, and ultimately not a happy moment.”

Presidential elector Natalie Fortman of Valencia at the statehouse in Sacramento on Monday.
Presidential elector Natalie Fortman of Valencia at the statehouse in Sacramento on Monday.

Fortman — an environmental policy analysis major at COC who plans to transfer to UC Davis and ultimately become an environmental lawyer – was pledged to Clinton and to Clinton’s vice presidential running mate, Tim Kaine.

Fortman said the whole process of formalizing California’s presidential choice took about 90 minutes, with Secretary of State Alex Padilla presiding over the proceedings.

“We got into the Assembly (chamber) around 1, the meeting was called to order, we said the Pledge of Allegiance and then we took the oath (as electors),” Fortman said.

After the electors named a chairperson and a secretary – no, Fortman was not one of them, “but that’s OK” – each elector got two pieces of paper, one for president, one for vice president, Fortman said.

Those ballots had the names of Clinton and Kaine pre-printed on them, and each elector signed the ballots and turned them in.

“If you didn’t want to vote for Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine, you would have had to cross it off,” Fortman said.

But no one there did – unlike in Maine, Minnesota and Colorado, where, according to reports, three Democratic electors tried to defect from Clinton but had their “faithless” votes rejected because state laws bound them to the candidates to whom they were pledged.

In the end, Trump received 304 electoral votes, two fewer than the 306 he had on Nov. 8, but still well more than the 270 needed to win the presidency, according to tracking done by the Associated Press.

In fact, according to reports, more electors nationwide defected from Clinton than from Trump, despite lobbying in some circles to induce GOP electors to abandon the real-estate magnate and one-time reality TV star.

But in Sacramento, Fortman reported, electors stuck to the November playbook. There was not even any talk among them of going off-script, she said.

Natalie Fortman tours the statehouse on Monday.
Natalie Fortman tours the statehouse on Monday.

“It was mostly, where are you from, how did you get nominated, that type of thing,” Fortman said of the pre-vote banter among the California electors.

After the vote, elector Christine Pelosi, daughter of Rep. Nancy Pelosi, offered a resolution that called for a probe into Russian hacking and interference with the general election.

Fortman said the resolution passed unanimously, and to loud cheers.

That was as dramatic as it got.

Fortman got to take part in Monday’s machinations because she was named an elector by Bryan Caforio, the Democratic nominee for House of Representatives in the 25th District race. She had worked as a volunteer for Caforio, who lost to Steve Knight in the general election.

Despite the election not turning out as she had hoped, Fortman said, the whole process “definitely has inspired me to become more involved in politics on a local level and on a larger level.’’

It also made for a memorable family day for her, her mom Annette and sister Katy, who watched from the gallery and were able to take pictures afterward.

“This was such a great opportunity for me, and my family as well,” Fortman said.

She said her dad, John, was sorry he couldn’t make it – but that he’ll get an earful of good stories once all the Fortmans can gather back in Valencia.

“My dad is a conservative, but he changed his registration to ‘no party preference’ after Trump got the nomination,’’ Fortman said.  “It makes for some pretty lively debates around the house. But I still love him.”

kkenney@signalscv.com

(661) 287-5525

Click here to post a comment

Bittersweet day for young SCV presidential elector

Natalie Fortman, a sophomore at College of the Canyons, was one of California's 55 electors who voted Monday in the Electoral College at the statehouse in Sacramento.

In the end, Natalie Fortman said, Monday was a bittersweet day for her.

The 20-year-old College of the Canyons sophomore from Valencia was one of the 55 California electors who gathered in the Assembly Chamber of the statehouse in Sacramento as the Electoral College, in votes all across the country, put the finishing touches on the November presidential election — formally telling Donald Trump, “You’re hired.”

While there had been rumblings in other states of possible “faithless’’ Republican electors going rogue and denying Trump the White House, there was no such drama in California — where Democrat Hillary Clinton won the popular vote in November and, on Monday, perfunctorily got all the state’s 55 electoral votes delivered to her column.

Several hundred protesters – carrying signs such as “Not my president” and “Electoral College: Save U.S.’’ — did gather outside the statehouse before the electors’ vote, but they were there more to make a larger anti-Trump point and perform for news cameras, Fortman indicated.

“I was just so excited to do it,’’ Fortman told The Signal when it was all over.

“When I saw Hillary Clinton’s name on the ballot, there was that feeling of somebody breaking a glass ceiling … but then not as much as you thought.

“I guess it was a happy moment, and ultimately not a happy moment.”

Presidential elector Natalie Fortman of Valencia at the statehouse in Sacramento on Monday.
Presidential elector Natalie Fortman of Valencia at the statehouse in Sacramento on Monday.

Fortman — an environmental policy analysis major at COC who plans to transfer to UC Davis and ultimately become an environmental lawyer – was pledged to Clinton and to Clinton’s vice presidential running mate, Tim Kaine.

Fortman said the whole process of formalizing California’s presidential choice took about 90 minutes, with Secretary of State Alex Padilla presiding over the proceedings.

“We got into the Assembly (chamber) around 1, the meeting was called to order, we said the Pledge of Allegiance and then we took the oath (as electors),” Fortman said.

After the electors named a chairperson and a secretary – no, Fortman was not one of them, “but that’s OK” – each elector got two pieces of paper, one for president, one for vice president, Fortman said.

Those ballots had the names of Clinton and Kaine pre-printed on them, and each elector signed the ballots and turned them in.

“If you didn’t want to vote for Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine, you would have had to cross it off,” Fortman said.

But no one there did – unlike in Maine, Minnesota and Colorado, where, according to reports, three Democratic electors tried to defect from Clinton but had their “faithless” votes rejected because state laws bound them to the candidates to whom they were pledged.

In the end, Trump received 304 electoral votes, two fewer than the 306 he had on Nov. 8, but still well more than the 270 needed to win the presidency, according to tracking done by the Associated Press.

In fact, according to reports, more electors nationwide defected from Clinton than from Trump, despite lobbying in some circles to induce GOP electors to abandon the real-estate magnate and one-time reality TV star.

But in Sacramento, Fortman reported, electors stuck to the November playbook. There was not even any talk among them of going off-script, she said.

Natalie Fortman tours the statehouse on Monday.
Natalie Fortman tours the statehouse on Monday.

“It was mostly, where are you from, how did you get nominated, that type of thing,” Fortman said of the pre-vote banter among the California electors.

After the vote, elector Christine Pelosi, daughter of Rep. Nancy Pelosi, offered a resolution that called for a probe into Russian hacking and interference with the general election.

Fortman said the resolution passed unanimously, and to loud cheers.

That was as dramatic as it got.

Fortman got to take part in Monday’s machinations because she was named an elector by Bryan Caforio, the Democratic nominee for House of Representatives in the 25th District race. She had worked as a volunteer for Caforio, who lost to Steve Knight in the general election.

Despite the election not turning out as she had hoped, Fortman said, the whole process “definitely has inspired me to become more involved in politics on a local level and on a larger level.’’

It also made for a memorable family day for her, her mom Annette and sister Katy, who watched from the gallery and were able to take pictures afterward.

“This was such a great opportunity for me, and my family as well,” Fortman said.

She said her dad, John, was sorry he couldn’t make it – but that he’ll get an earful of good stories once all the Fortmans can gather back in Valencia.

“My dad is a conservative, but he changed his registration to ‘no party preference’ after Trump got the nomination,’’ Fortman said.  “It makes for some pretty lively debates around the house. But I still love him.”

kkenney@signalscv.com

(661) 287-5525

About the author

Kevin Kenney

Kevin Kenney

Over 30-plus years, Kevin Kenney has been a writer and editor for United Press International, the New York Post and Fox Sports, among other outlets. He joined The Signal in 2016.

  • Ron Bischof

    “After the vote, elector Christine Pelosi, daughter of Rep. Nancy Pelosi, offered a resolution that called for a probe into Russian hacking and interference with the general election.

    Fortman said the resolution passed unanimously, and to loud cheers.”

    Risible symbolism by Ms. Pelosi.

    • Gene Walker

      Indeed. It’s true what they say: “the nut doesn’t fall far from the tree”.

  • Richard Winger

    The system the founding fathers designed bears no relationship to what we do today. Eleven of the thirteen original states, at least once, had the legislature choose the presidential electors. Only Virginia and Maryland (among the original 13) always let the voters choose the electors. The founding fathers wanted the electors to use their judgment. This story also should have mentioned that 4 electors in Washington and 1 elector in Hawaii did use their independent judgment and their votes were accepted. As the story said, 2 electors in Texas also did that.

    • Ron Bischof

      “The system the founding fathers designed bears no relationship to what we do today.”

      A curious assertion.

      The states have always decided how their electors are assigned. Please advise how that’s changed.

      Because electors didn’t vote the way you found congenial doesn’t equate to them not using their judgement.

      • Richard Winger

        Of the original 13 states, 11 of them (at least once) let the legislature choose the electors. The only two states, from the original 13, that always let the voters choose the electors were Maryland and Virginia. Another change is that during the 19th century and part of the 20th century, voters always voted for individual candidates for elector. The last state ballot to let voters vote for individual elector candidates was Vermont, which last did it in 1976.

        • Ron Bischof

          You’re still avoiding my point, i.e. the states have always controlled *assignment* of electors. Your statement about how electors are selected isn’t germane to my point and to the fact that *no* holder of Federal office is directly elected in a national popular vote.

          What you propose is a fundamental change that has *never* occurred in the past.

          QED.

          • Richard Winger

            I haven’t proposed any change in this thread. I am showing how the process has changed. In addition to the other changes I mention above, yet another change is that there were no state laws telling electors how to vote until the mid-twentieth century.

            I am hoping you will comment on the fact that before 1976, at least in some states, voters chose the electors as individuals. That was true of all states until 1904. Minnesota was the first state to take the ability of voters to choose individual electors away, starting in 1904. That is why, if one looks at early election returns, it was not uncommon for two different presidential candidates to get electoral votes from a single state in a single election. In North Dakota in 1892, three presidential candidates received an electoral vote.

            Still another change was that in the early 19th century and late 18th century, most states chose electors on a district basis instead of at-large.

          • Ron Bischof

            Noted.

            Do you advocate for elimination of the Electoral College? Yes/No

          • Richard Winger

            I advocate the Lodge-Gossett plan that passed the US Senate in 1950 with more than two-thirds. It keeps the electoral college, gets rid of the human being electors, and would make the electoral college vote from each state proportional to the popular vote in that state, out to 4 decimals to the right of the decimal point. That preserves the number of electoral votes each state has.

          • Ron Bischof

            “A resolution to submit to the states a constitutional amendment which would abolish the electoral college, while retaining the electoral vote as a counting device and distributing that vote in proportion to the popular vote…”

            http://library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/document.php?id=cqresrre1949101200

            So, that would be a yes, as I originally surmised.

Kevin Kenney

Kevin Kenney

Over 30-plus years, Kevin Kenney has been a writer and editor for United Press International, the New York Post and Fox Sports, among other outlets. He joined The Signal in 2016.