Minnesota's participants in this year's Electoral College mostly hit their ceremonial marks on Monday, though a supporter of Sen. Bernie Sanders used the occasion for one last expression of dissent.
None of it, the protest vote by the so-called "faithless elector" included, make a bit of difference in the national outcome: Donald Trump will become the nation's 45th president, despite protests outside the meeting in St. Paul and around the country.
"I always wondered what I would do if I were alive during the Civil Rights movement, and now this is my chance to participate in something that matters a lot to the country and the world," Charissa Pederson, a Minnesotan home from Colombia where she teaches English, said amid a group of protesters hoisting signs noting Democrat Hillary Clinton's popular vote lead.
Clinton, also as expected, was awarded Minnesota's 10 electoral votes after she won the popular tally in the state by a margin of 44,765 votes. Muhammud Abdurrahman, one of the 10 electors, broke ranks to vote for Sanders; by law, he was replaced by an alternate who voted for Clinton.
A Sanders delegate to the Democratic National Convention, Abdurrahman said he was not protesting Trump but rather the Minnesota law that requires electors to cast their ballot for the state's popular vote winner. He left quickly afterward.
The 538 members of the Electoral College met in each state and the District of Columbia Monday to award electoral votes based on the November election. For the second time in 16 years, the Democratic candidate for president won the most votes nationwide, but lost in the Electoral College.
Rep. John Lesch, DFL-St. Paul, and other lawmakers held a news conference before the Monday vote to announce they would again introduce legislation to push Minnesota to join the "National Popular Vote" compact. It would require the signatory states to throw their electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote, instead of giving their votes to the winner of their state. If enough states sign the compact that it totals 270 electoral votes, it would ostensibly kill the Electoral College.
"The shortcomings of the current system which we use to elect our president continue to be evident, and highlight the fact that the voice of the people is not being heard," Lesch said in a statement.
The Electoral College system, in which a state is awarded one electoral vote for each member of its U.S. House and Senate delegation, was a political compromise hatched during the nation's founding Constitutional Convention.
It gives relative power to small states, whose approval was needed for the Constitution to become ratified during its 18th-century birth.
To wit: The ratio of electoral votes of the biggest state to the smallest state is 18 to one, while the ratio of the population of the largest to the smallest is 70 to one — according to a recent essay by Bowdoin College's Andrew Rudalevige — which indicates how the Electoral College empowers smaller states at the expense of the principle of majority rule.
Inside the packed meeting room at the new Senate office building, a few Minnesotans said in raised voices that Secretary of State Steve Simon — who presided over the proceedings — and electors should delay the vote or abstain until a proper investigation of Russian interference in the election was done.
The demonstrators were not particularly disruptive. Neither Simon nor the State Patrol made any effort to silence or remove them.
The voices were those of Laura Flynn and Mike Rollin, both of Minneapolis, who said after the ceremony they were opposed to the Electoral College system and said the electors could not make informed choices without a full investigation of Russian influence in the November election.
Simon, elected as a DFLer in 2014 after serving in the Minnesota House, said he was required by law and Constitution to proceed with the assembly.
Around the country, the Electoral College received more attention than at any time in recent history given Clinton's popular vote tally, and the recent revelations from the CIA and FBI indicating Russia was trying to help Trump win.
Outside the Minnesota Senate building, protesters decried the taint of Russian influence hanging over the election. Around the country, some Republican electors reported cases of harassment urging them to vote against Trump on Monday.
Trump dismissed the protests and condemned the harassment of electors around the country with a tweet: "If my many supporters acted and threatened people like those who lost the election are doing, they would be scorned & called terrible names!"