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Electoral College Voting 'Unique Experience' for Hillsborough Woman

Ida Ochoteco joins presidential election process just five years after gaining citizenship.

Hillsborough resident Ida Ochoteco was thrilled to be one of 14 members of the NJ Electoral College who cast their votes on Dec. 17 for President Barack Obama’s re-election. 

“Being selected as one of the 14 members of the New Jersey Electoral College was an honor and a privilege in itself, but actually being present and casting my vote for President Obama was like nothing I have ever experienced,” Ochoteco said. “I grew up in a Latin American country ruled by a military dictatorship and became a proud citizen of the United States just two years ago, so this was a totally unique experience for me.

"I cannot tell you how proud I am of the democratic form of government that we have here in the United States,” she added.

The ceremony was held in the NJ Senate Chamber, a very formal and impressive setting according to Ochoteco.

“We had to be there an hour early in order to cast our paper ballots before the actual ceremony,” she recalls. “Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno began the ceremony by calling for a moment of silence in memory of the school children who were killed in Newtown, Conn. Assemblyman John S. Wisniewski, the chairman of the NJ Democratic Party, then explained to us the role of the Electoral Congress and emphasized how unique our election process really is.” 

Ochoteco was also very impressed with the diversity of the NJ Electoral Congress.

“There were a several young people of various races who were just beginning to become involved with politics,” she said. “There was one older lady, a lifelong Democrat, who was a first time member of the NJ Electoral Congress. There was also one gentleman who had been a member during a previous election but had been unable to vote because the general election was won by a Republican.” 

A number of high school students served as pages, handing out and picking up the ballots. “It was great to see how excited these kids were as they were experiencing democracy in action,” Ochoteco recalls. “I remember thinking that one of them could be our future governor or other elected official.” 

Ochoteco serves along with her husband, Al Ojeda, as co-chair of the Somerset County Democratic Committee’s Hispanic American Caucus and is also the secretary of the Hillsborough Democratic Committee. Mike Goldberg, Chairman of the Hillsborough Democratic Committee, accompanied Ochoteco and observed her swearing in. 

“This experience was especially significant for me because my son, who was recently allowed to emigrate to the United States but will have to wait five years to become a citizen, is very interested in politics and was able to join us and witness the entire process,” said Ochoteco. 

Democrats and Republicans each elect 14 members of the NJ Electoral College. The number is determined by the total of New Jersey’s 12 Congressional members and two Senators. The outcome of the general election in November determines which candidate receives all 14 Electoral votes. A total of 270 Electoral votes are needed to win the Presidential election. 

For more information, contact Michael Goldberg at (908) 722-9672 or mikegold722@gmail.com

Submitted by Robert Baker

Truthsayer January 01, 2013 at 02:36 PM
I guess she wanted another dictator because that is what a vote for Obama was and is
Shari Arcuri January 01, 2013 at 04:10 PM
very good.
Hugh January 01, 2013 at 05:01 PM
It should be mentioned that she and her husband operate a wonderful photography business. They did our son and daughter-in-law's wedding and were perfect- Ojeda photo..I can't recommend them more highly. However, I do hope her politics evolve and she comes to understand the destruction being wrought on our great country by the economically disasterous, socially degrading and racially divisive policies of the modern democrat party! Our president is hellbent at managing American decline. While you are voting over trivialities our national economy is being destroyed and our military security erased.
DJI January 02, 2013 at 05:23 PM
Congratulations on your accomplishments and for becoming a citizen of the greatest country in the world. But don't be confused the words Democrat and Democracy should not be used in the same context. The Democratic party has done an unbelievable job 'recruiting' newer immigrants and somehow they buy into it. If you don't want this country to end up like your old country, you may want to rethink your political position.
whisperww January 03, 2013 at 12:41 AM
Ida, congrats; you can bring another perspective to governance, which is, always will be, important in a democracy! Truthsayer, your comment mimics the Obama-first-term-take-down rhetoric that didn't work. Ida lived under a dictator's rule, likely understands democracy & dictatorship, could teach us a few things. Hugh, a complement re: excellent photography followed by condescension re: Ida's political evolution? A Dem can evolve into a Republ, an Independ, a Libertarian, other; the reverse - evolution into a Dem - is also true. Gotta check those facts if you're the self appointed Darwin of political evolution! DJI, what is 'recruiting newer imimigrants' - older ones were never Democrats? Maybe you mean the Dem party is the one with a greater sense of responsibility to social justice, but you don't agree? Or you agree with Hugh that many of us have 'evolved' without greed, egocentricity, and prejudice in any form, so representing social justice isn't important? Bottom line: supporting Obama or Dems isn't awful, anti democratic, etc, & doing so doesn't make anyone a lesser being in poitical evolution. Who wants a de facto 1-party system? China-like? dictatorship-like (Wikepedia)? C'mon, be constructive to the conversation.
ida January 04, 2013 at 02:11 AM
I joined the Democratic Party because its principles are the closest to my beliefs and because it's the most inclusive party. The Democratic Party embraces people of all races, religions, gender, and sexual orientation. That was very clear at the Democratic National Convention, didn’t see that diversity at the Republican National Convention. I was very happy to cast my vote for President Obama’s second term, will never have any regrets about it. America is in good hands. Moving Forward.
Hugh January 19, 2013 at 07:37 PM
Ida, you are mistaken. To begin with the Democrats were the party of slavery and Jim Crow. Republicans were and are the party of liberty. Republicans have more Hispanics and women in positions of power than do the Democrats. Don't buy the propaganda of the radical left. They hate the America you moved to for a better life. Democrat party policies will turn this country into the kind of mess you find almost everywhere else. Where do we go then?

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