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Hundreds Protest At California Electoral College Meeting

Protesters stand on the steps of the state Capitol in Sacramento, Dec. 19, 2016.

Photo by Associated Press

Above: Protesters stand on the steps of the state Capitol in Sacramento, Dec. 19, 2016.

California's 55 Electoral College cast their votes in favor of Democrat Hillary Clinton and her running mate, Tim Kaine, on Monday as expected in a largely ceremonial proceeding that marked the end of the presidential election season.

The members, all selected by California Democratic officeholders or Democratic candidates for office, met at the state Capitol, where the occasion was marked by dozens of news photographers and hundreds of protesters outside the Capitol holding signs saying "Not My President," ''Dump Trump" and "Electoral College: Save U.S."

California's electors are pledged to vote for the winner of the state's popular vote, Hillary Clinton, who won about 62 percent in November. Still, they were not required to state their selection out loud, instead placing their candidate markings on individual ballots that were collected and returned to a podium where the overall count was read aloud.

Many snapped selfies of their ballots before handing them over.

Clinton also won the national popular vote in the Nov. 8 election, but Republican Donald Trump won the formal electoral vote Monday to certify the nation's 45th president.

One elector, Monterey County Democratic Party Chairman Vinz Koller, sought to test the elector law in a federal court last week, but he lost his bid for a temporary injunction that would have allowed him to vote for a compromise Republican such as Mitt Romney or John Kasich.

People Protest Electoral College In Downtown San Diego

Koller, a Clinton supporter, said he intended to continue pursuing his legal challenge, but he had decided to cast his ballot for Clinton, though she would not become president.

"I'm also hoping it will move people to take another look at the Electoral College and maybe wonder if this is such a great idea," he said. "The gap between the popular vote and the Electoral College vote has never been greater."

Photo caption:

Photo by Associated Press

Tate Atherton-Shipp, 5, of Fairfield, Calif., holds a sign at a rally outside the state Capitol in Sacramento, Dec. 19, 2016.

Outside, hundreds gathered for a rally to urge electors elsewhere to vote their conscience, which at times seemed more of an anti-Trump rally than a movement against the Electoral College system.

Democrat Judith Dillon, 68, of Placerville said she came to the rally because she feels the presidential election was fraudulent after learning that the FBI and CIA believe the Russian government was involved in election-related hacking.

"For all I know, Russia actually did hack into the votes — I mean, I hope not," she said.

California's 55 Democratic electors were chosen by Sen. Dianne Feinstein and incoming Sen. Kamala Harris as well as the party's candidates in each of the 53 U.S. House districts. Most are party activists, campaign volunteers or relatives of congressional candidates.

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