While voters across the nation cast their ballots for America’s president on Nov. 3 or during early voting, Karnes County’s Sean O’Brien was among the members of the Electoral College who cast their ballots in mid-December for president and vice president.
O’Brien was one of 38 electors from Texas who cast their ballots for Donald J. Trump, although nationwide, Joseph Biden received 306 electoral votes. The number of Electoral College votes needed to clinch the presidency was 270.
“It was really an emotional experience for me,” O’Brien said. “The combination of the historical significance and having the honor of being one of 38 people from the entire state of Texas to get to do what I did. ... It was a huge overwhelming experience and I was fighting back tears for half of the whole procedure.”
The Electoral College process was set up early in America’s history as a compromise by national leaders who sought, in part, to give a greater voice to smaller states whose votes might otherwise be completely overshadowed by larger states. Each state has a number of electors which is equal to its representation in the U.S. Congress, for a total of 538. On Jan. 6, Congress met to count the electoral votes.
O’Brien is the first elector from Karnes County. He participated in a historic gathering of the Texas Electoral College which not only voiced its support for Trump but also condemned the Supreme Court for declining to address the issue of alleged voting irregularities in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin which could potentially have changed the outcome of the election.
“It was a huge honor to be chosen — a year ago I didn’t even know how to be an elector,” O’Brien said. “I found out that if you were a delegate at the state convention, you were eligible to run to be an elector.”
O’Brien was supported in his efforts to become an elector by Rita Jordan, the Karnes County Republican Party chairwoman, Austin attorney Eric Opiela, who owns property in Karnes County, and Monica De La Cruz Hernandez, the Republican candidate for District 15 of the U.S. House of Representatives.
O’Brien was chosen as an elector, and was able to participate in the Electoral College process.
“It was a great experience, I’m so glad I was able to do it,” he said. “We voted for president and vice president and also had a vote to send a strongly worded letter to Congress.”
That letter questioned the integrity of the election process nationally, he said.
“As honored as I was to cast my vote, I hope on Jan. 6, (Congress) will throw the electoral votes out,” O’Brien said. “If that happens, each state will have one vote and President Trump will be re-elected.
“We are all eagerly awaiting that day — there’s no way they can legitimize that election. Hopefully, they’ll do the right thing and throw it out.”
Although Biden is on track to be sworn in as the new president on Jan. 20, O’Brien said he remains a strong supporter of President Trump.
“I ask people to continue to pray for the President, his decision-making and that he remains healthy,” he said.