AUSTIN -- Republican Mitt Romney was a winner Monday - in Texas.
Although he fell short nationwide on Election Day, the former Massachusetts governor picked up the votes of all 38 presidential electors in Texas on Monday because a majority here state backed him Nov. 6.
But it wasn't enough to give Romney victory.
Presidential voters nationwide, including several from North Texas, went to their state capitols Monday and cast votes in the 538-member Electoral College. A majority officially re-elected Democratic President Barack Obama to a second term.
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"It was very touching to me to vote, but it was bittersweet almost," said Kaye Moreno of Fort Worth who was one of Texas' three dozen-plus electoral voters. "I enjoyed the whole process."
The Electoral College, not the popular vote, officially determines who will live in the White House.
Texas Secretary of State John Steen told voters he appreciated their presence and participation.
"Our system of government depends on citizen service," he told voters. "Thank you for your dedication to Texas."
On Monday, 38 Texans - one from each congressional district and two selected statewide - gathered in the Texas House chamber to cast their votes for the GOP presidential slate of Romney and Paul Ryan, who handily claimed a majority in this state.
Before the vote, some electors posed for photos in front of the large Christmas tree displayed in the middle of the chamber.
Once the ceremony began, after prayers and pledges, Steen and Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson welcomed the volunteer voters to the Capitol.
Within an hour, the voters quietly, and with little fanfare, had cast private paper ballots first for Romney, then for Ryan.
"Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts wins the vote 38-0," said state Republican Chairman Steve Munisteri, who was chosen to preside over the process. "Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin received 38 votes. No other candidate received any votes."
For Georgia Scott, another electoral voter with North Texas ties, it was an amazing experience.
"This is such a historical moment," said Scott, who lives in Bluff Dale and was born and raised in Fort Worth. "I'm part of history."
Scott said putting her ballot in the box was "like a dream."
"The Electoral College is something you hear about all your life," she said. "Today, I was part of it."
Kenneth Williams was almost part of it.
Williams, one of the Democratic electors who would have voted if Obama had won Texas, sat in the gallery above the House floor, watching Republicans vote.
"I was so close to being there," said Williams,57, a mechanic who works for the U.S. Postal Service. "I would have been proud to represent my district."
Williams, who wore his Democratic tie, said Monday's ceremony inspired him.
"It just gives me that much more burning fire to work so that in four years, I'm sitting there with the Democrats voting."The Electoral College dates to the late 1700s as the name given to a group of citizens chosen by "the people" to formally cast the final vote for president and vice president.
The founding fathers created the Electoral College and put it in the Constitution as a way to create a middle ground between letting Congress and qualified voters nationwide elect the president. They also wanted to give every state a proportionate voice in the process. So they gave each state a certain number of votes and determined that a simple majority would determine the nation's president.
In each state, two sets of voters are chosen and are poised to cast their ballots, depending on which candidate won their state's vote.
On Election Day, the Obama-Biden ticket carried 27 states, picking up 332 electoral votes. The Romney-Ryan ticket won 24 states and 206 electoral votes.
Since Romney won Texas, the 38 Republican electors voted in Austin on Monday. If Obama had won the state, 38 Democrats would have traveled to Austin for Monday's vote.Federal law states that Electoral College voters meet on the Monday after the second Wednesday of December. The ballots from each state will be sent to Vice President Joe Biden, who will read them to both houses of Congress on Jan. 6, unless Congress changes the date.
Once the results are read, Obama's win is official and final. The Electoral College process last fell under the microscope in 2000, when George W. Bush won the Electoral College 271-266 (one voter abstained) even though Gore won the popular vote.
Opponents continue to call for changes to let the popular vote determine the winner.
But Scott said it's important for the Electoral College to remain.
"Some people say it's out of date," she said. "But it's not. We need to keep it going."
Anna M. Tinsley,