Electors in Ohio deliver all 18 votes to GOP’s Donald Trump

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — All 18 of Ohio’s Electoral College members voted Monday for Republican Donald Trump despite opposition by protesters outside the state capitol building.

The vote occurred after Republican Gov. John Kasich, a Trump detractor, was compelled to appear in the Ohio Statehouse’s Senate chambers to play an official role in the replacement of an elector. Kasich had declined to endorse or vote for Trump after dropping his own presidential bid, but he chose to deliver a message of unity when addressing electors.

Kasich picked up on a line in the event’s opening prayer in urging the body to support Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence, who won the vote count in the state Nov. 8.

“It’s not (that) we’re asking God to be on our side. It’s our responsibility to be on his,” he said. “That means that we are together, that means that we want connection, we want neighbors, we want unity, we want love. And we recognize the very strength of our country is encapsulated in those virtues, and values of the two gentlemen I talked about today.”

GOP state Treasurer Josh Mandel, who supported Florida Sen. Marco Rubio over both Kasich and Trump in the Republican primary, delivered the day’s keynote address. He praised Trump.

The vote came as the cries of hundreds of protesters could be heard outside the Senate chamber. They demonstrated to push for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Clinton won the popular vote nationally but secured just 43 percent of the vote in Ohio compared to Trump’s 51 percent.

Hundreds of protesters marched around the Statehouse outside the event, carrying signs including “Trump=Danger.”

“The constitution’s very clear,” said demonstrator Charles Merbitz, of Cleveland. “The electors are supposed to be ‘sober men’ who examine the candidates and vote for a candidate with good character who they believe will make a good president.”

Inside, electors said that’s exactly how they felt about Trump, the New York billionaire who stunned the Republican Party with his unconventional campaign style, penchant for controversial remarks and staying power with American voters.

Electors convened in all 50 states and the District of Columbia on Monday.