Washington State elector repulsed by violence at US Capitol

The deadly attack on the Capitol Building is a sobering moment for our country, including those who have been part of the electoral process.

In mid-December, Jack Arends of Everett was one of a dozen Washington State Electors who cast a ballot in the Electoral College. During a speech, the elector was emotional and shared he was glad to fulfill his duty even while his health is failing him. It was considered a vote of a lifetime.

"First I applaud the bravery of those staffers for saving those ballots. One of which was mine, I remind you, one of them was signed by me," said Arends, who explained there are several copies made of the ballots before they are sent to DC. "The results of the vote would not have been destroyed, but the act of doing that, destroying such documents, is just in itself, just repulsive, and fully opposed to what we stand for."

James Long is an Associate Professor of Political Science at UW and explained Congress has until Inauguration Day to certify the Electoral College votes.

"It actually technically doesn’t matter. The Electoral College has already voted. This is purely a ceremonial process," said Long.

The violence and deadly attack at the U.S. Capitol was like a glass of cold water thrown on his face, according to Arends.

"It shattered all my illusions about America being above that kind of insurrection. It’s not," said Arends. "The lesson here is, we all have to guard democracy. We all have to be vigilant, and we can’t place too much confidence in institutions that require the people who govern us to respect those institutions."

Congress reconvened to count the Electoral College votes after the building was secured.