Under unusual scrutiny, Louisiana's eight presidential electors Monday cast their votes for Republican Donald Trump as president.
Trump easily carried the state in the Nov. 8 election, and captured a winning majority in the Electoral College nationally a few hours later.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump has cruised to victory in the Electoral College despite thous…
The action, which usually gains little notice, took place in the state Senate chamber as similar votes were happening Monday in 49 other states.
Television cameras, spectators and some of the state's top officials were in the chamber.
The only mini-drama took place when presidential elector Lloyd Harsch, representing the Second Congressional District, made brief remarks before casting his vote for Trump.
Harsch, a history professor who lives in New Orleans, said he was urged to carefully weigh his vote.
"I have carefully considered the options before me," he said. "I will do the right thing and be on the right side of history."
Harsch then voted for Trump, and noted that the New York Republican had won a majority of votes in Louisiana in last month's presidential race.
A smattering of boos came from the Senate gallery, which was about half full.
The other seven electors announced their decisions without fanfare.
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A handful of protesters erected signs on the State Capitol steps before the gathering amid unusually cool temperatures.
"This is a very exciting time across our country," Secretary of State Tom Schedler told the group. "It is an awe inspiring event to say the least."
On a lighter note Schedler added, "I would by lying if I did not say this election was one for the record books. It taxed my staff to the nth degree."
The casting of electoral votes is usually a little-watched afterthought the month after the presidential election.
But this time was different amid a push by backers the losing candidate, Democrat Hillary Clinton, and others to deny an electoral majority for Trump.
Presidential electors nationwide reported being swamped with emails, letters and other pleas in advance of the vote.
Critics say Trump is unfit for office, and they noted that Clinton won the popular vote.
Trump backers called the effort sour grapes and said some critics of the president elect are simply unable to accept the 2016 presidential election results.
The Electoral College vote has never overturned the results of a presidential election.
"The Republican Party of Louisiana thanks the electors for carrying out their constitutional duty in the face of unprecedented pressure from out of state leftist organizations," GOP State Chairman Roger Villere said in a prepared statement.
The vote here was set to take place at about 11:45 a.m. However, officials were told that state law requires it to be done closer to noon.
Charles Buckles Jr., a presidential elector representing the Third Congressional District, served as chairman of the proceedings and then spent several minutes explaining how the electoral college came about.
Buckles, who lives in Lafayette, said the electoral system was set up to prevent "tyranny of the majority."
All eight electors also cast their votes for GOP Vice President Elect Mike Pence.
Among those on hand in the Senate were Senate President John Alario, R-Westwego and House Speaker Taylor Barras, R-New Iberia.
Aside from Harsch and Buckles the electors are Garrett C. Monti, Luling, at large; Steven Wilfong, Baton Rouge, at large; Chris D. Trahan, Covington, First District; Louis R. Avallone, Shreveport, Fourth District; Kay Kellogg Katz, Monroe, Fifth District and Lennie H. Rhys, Baton Rouge, Sixth District.
Each of the electors were chosen by Republican caucuses in each of Louisiana's six congressional districts and two were elected at large.
Trump overwhelmingly won the popular election in Louisiana with 59 percent of the vote. But under the U.S. Constitution, it is the electors that officially select the president of the United States.
All 538 members of the Electoral College met Monday in the 50 state capitals to cast their official votes. Trump won the Electoral College in November 306 votes to Hillary Clinton's 232, but lost the popular vote by over 2.5 million votes, the third worst margin since 1824.