Corynne B. Courpas traveled to Annapolis on Monday and participated in an event that has taken place at Maryland’s State House for more than 230 years.
The Westminster resident received a nomination to be one of the voters for the state’s Electoral College meeting and represent Carroll County in the process. Courpas, the electoral voter for Congressional District 8, got the chance to be one of 10 who formally cast their vote for the president-elect and vice President-elect ahead of the nation’s new administration.
“I was just gobsmacked. I was so excited that they had chosen me,” Courpas said. “My friends at the state party really went to bat for me and all my years of service, so it meant the world.”
Courpas learned in September she had been nominated by Carroll County Democratic Central Committee chairman Don West. As the treasurer of that Westminster-based committee and a Carroll resident for more than 40 years, Courpas said she was honored to garner the nomination but didn’t think she had much of a chance of being selected. Congressional District 8 includes parts of Carroll, Frederick, and Montgomery counties. And that meant plenty of competition, Courpas, said, and a lot of important political figures in the running.
Courpas discovered soon after being nominated that she indeed earned the right to represent the district at the Electoral College meeting, a reward and recognition for decades of public servant work.
West said Courpas is the first woman from Carroll to become an Electoral College representative, and just the third in recent memory from the county’s Democratic Central Committee.
“She’s a great person, and a great person to represent Carroll,” West said. “She has incredible experience and is very highly regarded within the state for her responsibility with our committee as an officer. She is renowned for her ability as a treasurer. ... To me she’s just a standout.”
Courpas took part in Monday’s ceremony, which gathered the state’s 10 electoral votes for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. After taking an oath, the 10 electors ― one from each of Maryland’s eight congressional districts, as well as both state senators ― cast their votes aloud before writing them and having them certified and sealed.
Courpas said she brought home a few souvenirs ― a copy of the official certificate, as well as a program that was signed by her fellow electors. Courpas also kept the pen she used to sign her name on more than a few dozen pieces of paper.
“My quip, and a lot of people picked up on it, is the last time I signed my name that many times I was signing away half my money for a mortgage,” Courpas said. “It was fun, it was emotional. It was very special. The epitome of my career in volunteerism.”
The McDaniel College graduate (it was Western Maryland College when Courpas lived on campus from 1972-76) said she battled nerves in the days leading up to Monday’s meeting. After a successful road trip to Annapolis, Courpas said she was glad to also survive the COVID-19 temperature check that allowed her to be present in the State House.
“Wouldn’t it be just my luck that I’d have some kind of a bug this week, but my temperature was low which is good,” she said. “Of all the things that could go wrong, and then you add one more to the list this year.”
The electors wore face coverings and were socially distanced during the meeting, which was led by Gov. Larry Hogan. Maryland’s State House is the country’s oldest continuously operating state capitol. Hogan told the group Maryland is just one of six states that has participated in every Electoral College vote, starting in 1789.
“The building and surroundings have so much significance here in Maryland,” Courpas said. “I doubt that they have that in too many other places.”
The votes are slated to be delivered to the president of the U.S. Senate, Vice President Mike Pence, who will lead their tabulation Jan. 6 at a joint session of Congress.
West said he’s proud of Courpas for being chosen, and had no doubt she’d hold the honor in high regard. For Courpas, it’s somewhat of a stamp on a lifelong career in politics.
Her first campaign experience came in 1970, she said, when an uncle who was good friends with former U.S. Senator Paul Sarbanes gave Courpas a chance to see how things operate. Courpas said she hoped Sarbanes got a chance to see the 2020 electoral college list before he died Dec. 6 at age 87.
Next up, Courpas said, is a virtual celebration with fellow Democrats a few days before Inauguration Day, Jan. 20. She’ll be doing that from the comforts of her home in Westminster, a place Courpas isn’t leaving any time soon.
“I’ve often said this. I am never going to be a snowbird,” Courpas said. “I’ve had a good life in Maryland. I love my neighbors, I love my friends, I love my community. Carroll County is going to be my home for the rest of my life if I have any say about it. I just want to stay where I am.”
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Baltimore Sun reporter Ben Leonard contributed to this story.