Kalamarides continues to serve Wilton Democrats in Electoral College
WILTON — When asked why he threw his hat in the ring to become an elector in the Electoral College, John Kalamarides said it was a moment in history he did not want to pass him by.
“I had been taking stock of what I can still do as an active Democrat … and I thought it would be interesting to run for an elector position,” the former chairman of the Wilton Democratic Town Committee said. Kalamarides led the committee for six years, from 2007 to 2013.
“I knew it would be a very historic election, and I very much want to vote for a Democrat and I knew it was very important for us as a nation to get back on track.”
Kalamarides said he did not do it for his resume or his ego. “It’s just a tremendous honor to be able to do that,” he said. “I can vote twice. Once in the general election and once for all the people of Connecticut who voted for a Democrat for President.”
With its seven electoral votes, Connecticut has seven Republican and seven Democratic Electoral College members. Each is sworn to vote for the member of their party who wins the plurality of votes in the November election.
Kalamarides was one of 34 Democrats who were nominated for the position. After the nomination process, he said, the state party reviews the names and puts together a slate of seven people that it presents to the 1,500 delegates to the state convention earlier this month.
Kalamarides said he’s received a lot of feedback since his election.
“I can’t tell you the number of people who contacted me who were pleased I was taking that role,” he said. “I’ve lived in Wilton 38 years and I’ve had people of all political stripes telling me things. Maybe I’m inspiring people to vote.”
The last person to represent Wilton on the Electoral College was Selectwoman Deborah McFadden. She and the other electors traveled to Hartford in 2007 to place their ballots for Barack Obama in a box made from the charter oak. The ballots were then taken to Washington, D.C. to be opened in January 2008.
McFadden was invited to the Obama inauguration and to one of the official inauguration balls.
“John is a great member of the Wilton community and has contributed much to both the Town of Wilton and the Democratic party,” McFadden said. “The fact that two presidential electors have come from a town as small as Wilton is very usual, and speaks to the fact Wilton plays above it’s weight class.”
It is prescribed in the U.S. Constitution that Connecticut’s members of the Electoral College will meet in Hartford on Dec. 14 for a ceremony run by the secretary of the state.
“I certainly hope they will meet,” Kalamarides said when asked about the likelihood of that given the uncertainty about how long social distancing rules will remain in effect.
“I’m really thrilled to be able to do this,” he added. “I’m really looking forward to it.”