Iowa’s six “electors” have cast their votes for Donald Trump and Mike Pence.
Don Kass of Remsen is one of the half dozen Republicans from Iowa who were part of this year’s Electoral College voting. Like other electors around the country, Kass got a massive amount of mail, urging him to do anything but vote for Trump.
“Just to give you some idea, Friday the mail weighed 8.5 pounds and Saturday it weighed 9.5 (pounds),” Kass says.
Kass hasn’t asked what his letter carrier thinks of the whole thing.
“I just kind of hide when he shows up,” Kass said, laughing. “…One day, I met him at the sidewalk and he handed me a bag. He just put his arm out the window with a bag and handed it to me and drove off.”
Kass has been chairman of the Plymouth County Republican Party “off and on” for the past 25 years.
“This has been the most out-of-the-ordinary year I think I could have imagined,” Kass said. “If you were going to write a fiction book, you couldn’t come up with something that was this unique in our history, but you know I think — in fact, I know, it’s going to be a positive future. I look forward to what Mr. Trump is going to do. I really do.”
Polly Granzow of Eldora said it was a “special” experience to cast her ballot for Trump.
“It has brought so much media attention and I think people now know what Electors do and what their obligations are,” Granzow said.
Granzow received 540 email messages just on Sunday alone, urging her to vote for Clinton or some other “resonable Republican.”
“I think it’s just part of the process and I didn’t object to it at all,” Granzow said. “…That was their job.”
About 40 people came to the statehouse today, as a show of protest over the election of Trump, but there were no disruptions during the voting ceremony itself. Michael Christl of Des Moines attended a vigil Sunday evening and was in the capitol all day.
“This is not o.k. He’s not my president,” he said. “…This is not about party politics anymore. It’s about having somebody in the highest office in the world, essentially, who does not represent the morals, the values, the discipline and the intellect to be able to govern.”
Kenn Bowen of Iowa City was hoping the electors would vote differently.
“This man who has seemed to have garnered enough votes to have won the election is uniquely unqualified, unprepared and unfit for the job,” Bowen said.
Bowen was visible among the protesters, as he was wearing an “I fight evil for a living” t-shirt.
“It was kind of a pipe dream to begin with, but there was hope,” Bowen said. “Unfortunately it seems partisanship has outweighed patriotism.”
James Whitmer of Waterloo — one of the six electors who voted for Trump — was surprised by the amount of lobbying, but he was “absolutely not” interested in voting for anyone else.
“It’s been amusing. I have gotten 1000 letters in the last three days, plus Facebook messages, emails and phone calls,” Whitmer said. “…I had no idea that was going to happen.”
Dylan Keller of Donnellson got letters from all but five states and he suspects many had no idea what an elector was before this year.
“The Electoral College and just the hubhub around it has been really exciting,” Keller said.
Keller, who is 24 years old, first got interested in politics during the 2000 election — the last time a candidate who didn’t win the popular vote, but won the Electoral College, became president.
“I stayed up late at night trying to watch the election returns. Mom made me go to bed early. She says: ‘No, it’s a school night and you’ve got to go to bed. You’ll find up in the morning,’ but when you woke up — like the rest of America — you didn’t know who the president was,” Keller said. “And so that tapped my curiosity. Why don’t we know? What’s going on here? And it made me read about the Electoral College and the importance of it.”
Alan Braun of Norwalk said being an elector was an “intense” experience.
“I didn’t expect to hear from so many people out there as far as the phone calls, letters and emails,” Braun said. “I probably had over 7,300 emails, 1,200 to 1,400 letters and too many phone calls to count.”
Being an elector was a “bucket list” experience for Braun. Braun was a Republican elector four years ago, but didn’t get to vote in the Electoral College. Iowa’s six Democratic electors cast those ballots four years ago because President Obama carried Iowa.
Trump won Iowa this year, carrying 93 of Iowa’s 99 counties.