BOSTON -- Massachusetts' 11 members of the Electoral College were defiantly confident Monday as they cast their votes for Hillary Clinton, but they were less sure that the system they represent should continue to exist.
There was never any doubt that the electors from emphatically blue Massachusetts would vote unanimously for the Democratic candidate, who won nearly 61 percent of the vote here. Their support for Clinton, combined with the fact that she won the national popular vote by more than 2.8 million while still losing the election, had many electors rethinking whether the Electoral College should continue to decide presidential elections.
"It'll be difficult (to replace the Electoral College) because it'll require a constitutional amendment," said Parwez Wahid, an elector from Framingham.
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There have been attempted workarounds to a constitutional amendment. Eleven states, representing 165 electoral votes, have signed onto an interstate compact that would bind electors in all signatory states to voting for whichever candidate wins the national popular vote. Massachusetts joined the group in 2010.
State Sen. Marc Pacheco, who was an elector on Monday, voted against joining the compact at that time even though his previous experience as an elector included the 2000 election, the last time a candidate won the White House while losing the popular vote.
But now, Pacheco said there needs to be reform to the system.
"This election probably flipped me on that," he said. "So I'm much more inclined to go to a one person, one vote system."
In the meantime, electors have to respect the constitutionally created college and all the tradition it represents, Pacheco said, which is why the event at the Statehouse on Monday had such a formal air.
Around a hundred people who received special invitations from the Secretary of the Commonwealth attended the ceremony in the chamber of the state's House of Representatives.
Many of them were stalwarts of Massachusetts' Democratic party -- some sported Clinton stickers -- and they mingled with friends and elected officials as a band played smooth jazz from the balcony.
At 3 p.m., Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin called the session to order and issued a warning about the "politics of plunder" represented by President-elect Donald Trump.
The 11 electors marched in wearing tuxedos, evening gowns, and, in the case of Paul Yorkis, of Medway, a Colonial tricorn hat.
After about an hour of ceremonial proclamations and 10 minutes of casting ballots, the voting was over and the crowd adjourned the Statehouse's Great Hall for refreshments.
Inside, elector Curtis LeMay of Lowell said he would like to see the nation have a conversation about changing or eliminating the Electoral College, but that it would be a daunting task.
"There are those who say it's passe, antiquated to the point where it needs to be changed," the former Lowell city councilor said. "I wouldn't want that burden all on my shoulders, though."
His colleagues on the college, Dori Dean, of Holyoke, and Donna Smith, of Stoughton, expressed similar desires for a national conversation on the issue. But the prevailing sentiment from the electors was one of caution: if the system is to be changed it should be done with careful consideration and the consent of all states.
"I think we should not have a knee-jerk reaction to one situation," Yorkis said. "Our Constitution is an excellent document and it has served our nation well."
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