Barack Obama won the votes of more than 3 million Illinoisans in the 2008 presidential election.

But the 21 electoral votes he garnered for carrying the state played the most significant role in his winning the presidency – and a well-known Austin resident and activist was one of the state’s electors. Vera Davis, wife of Danny Davis and Westside NAACP executive committee chair, was a state elector.

The Electoral College, not the popular vote, elects a U.S. president. It is a process that began with the writing of the U.S. Constitution. The Electoral College was established by the founding fathers as a compromise between electing a president via Congress and through a popular vote of the people. U.S. citizens vote for the electors (that is, whichever candidate wins a majority of the popular vote in most states) who then vote for the president. Electors are nominated by the state parties. Illinois also had 21 electors for the GOP and its nominee John McCain. Barack Obama and vice president Joe Biden won Illinois with 3,419,673 popular votes cast. Illinois 21 electoral voters were as follows:

Constance A. Howard, Carrie Austin, Andrew Madigan, Ricardo Munoz, James DeLeo, Marge Friedman, Vera Davis, Nancy Shepardson, William Marovitz, Lauren Beth Gash, Debbie Halvorson, Molly McKenzie, Julia Kennedy Beckman, Mark Guethle, Lynn Foster, John Nelson, Mary Boland, Shirley McCombs, Don Johnston, Barbara Flynn Currie and John R. Daley.