By Meredith Wood Smith of Portland, Oregon. Meredith is chair of the Democratic Party of Oregon and one of Oregon's seven Electoral College Electors pledged to Barack Obama.
Today's vote of the Electoral College is one of the greatest honors of my life. I will represent the more than one million Oregonians who voted with the great majority of Americans for Senator Obama as our next president.
I'm honored to uphold this responsibility and thankful for the process that got us here.
The Electoral College system guarantees that Oregon, like the other small-population states, still plays an important role in presidential elections.
The founders of our nation understood the importance of giving a voice to smaller states, to prevent them from being ignored by presidential campaigns, and from occupants of the White House.
They recognized that if the President were chosen by simple popular vote, candidates would likely spend all their time in a few populous states, and less populous regions like ours might get short shrift.
This year's campaign vividly demonstrated what the Electoral College means for Oregon.
Both Senator Obama and Senator McCain visited Oregon several times - in fact, Senator Obama drew his first stadium size crowd here - and Senator Obama's decision to build on Democratic Party Chair Howard Dean's “50 State Strategy” energized electorates all over America.
Beyond his visits, here's what Obama's campaign meant to Oregon:
13 Obama field offices, from Portland to Pendleton to Medford to the Oregon Coast.
Chairman Dean and U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi headlined a series of leaders who campaigned throughout Oregon.
Our offices overflowed with thousands and thousands of grassroots volunteers who knocked on doors, made phone calls, wrote letters, and organized their communities.
The result: Senator Obama ran away with Oregon's seven electoral votes. And now, President-Elect Obama has a familiarity with and an appreciation for our state that otherwise might not exist.
These seven electoral votes don't belong to me and our other six electors.
They belong to the people of Oregon. We're honoring Oregonians' vote, and honoring a process that assures a meaningful voice for every state in the Union.
Whether one agreed or disagreed with the majority who elected Senator Obama, we all can feel proud that we followed our founders' rules, that we now see an orderly transition to a new administration, and that we know we were heard.
And I, as a Democrat who's been heartsick at the mistakes my country has made over the last eight years, look forward with real hope to a new day for America.
Editor's note: In addition to Meredith Wood Smith, Oregon's seven Electors are:
Frank Dixon, DPO Vice-Chair, Portland
Mike Bohan, DPO Congressional District 1 Chair, Beaverton
John McColgan, DPO Congressional District 2 Chair, Joseph
Joe Smith, DPO Congressional District 3 Chair, Portland
Shirley Cairns, DPO Congressional District 4 Chair, Oakland
Barney Gorter, DPO Congressional District 5 Chair, Milwaukie