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Florida’s 29 electors cast votes for Trump

December 19, 2016 GMT

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida’s 29 electors cast their votes for Donald Trump inside the state Senate chambers Monday as about 200 people protested outside the doors.

Protesters shouted, “Love trumps hate” just before the vote took place, and “Vote your conscience” as the electors filled out their ballots. Secretary of State Ken Detzner oversaw the ceremony.

Before the vote, state Rep. Joe Gruters said there was no chance he and the other 28 electors would vote at odds with the statewide vote in November.

“The party picks them. The 29 guys and gals that are voting today are probably 100 percent hardcore Republican partisans,” said Gruters, who served as Trump’s Florida campaign chairman.

As he spoke to reporters, a group holding signs like “Trump has no conscience, do you?” stood behind him.

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Gruters said he received more than 80,000 emails from people hoping to convince him not to vote for Trump. He said the disruption in his communication was worth it.

“It’s over, so now my guess is I’ll have my life back a little bit,” he said.

As he walked away, protester Cheryl Gratt sarcastically said, “I hope you can sleep tonight.”

“He said he gets his life back. Isn’t that wonderful. Now we lose ours,” said Gratt, 64, of Tallahassee.

Among the other electors were Attorney General Pam Bondi, Senate President Joe Negron, Republican National Committee co-Chair Sharon Day and Republican Party of Florida Chairman Blaise Ingoglia.

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Earlier, protesters gathered outside the state’s historic old Capitol and waved signs at drivers before moving inside the current Capitol. Among them was Randie Denker, a 66-year-old lawyer from Tallahassee who said Trump is unfit to be president.

Denker said she was hoping to prevent a catastrophe.

“Perhaps we can right a wrong and the electors are really our only hope at this point. Today is a day of reckoning and if not today, then we’re in a lot of trouble — a heap of trouble,” she said.