A Washington state elector who has a terminal health issue broke down in tears Monday after casting his vote for President-elect Joe Biden, telling a local media outlet that being an elector is part of making his time left “count.”
Just days after his selection as an elector, 64-year-old Democrat Jack Arends was diagnosed with an inoperable heart valve issue, The Everett Herald reported.
A retired aviation industry analyst, Arends entered the floor of the state Senate in a wheelchair and wearing a brimmed cap reading “Play Nice.” He took a less-than-subtle jab at Trump by bringing two Sharpie markers ― the president’s writing tool of choice on several headline-making occasions ― to cast his vote for Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
Arends became visibly emotional as he delivered brief remarks just moments later.
“Today is the chance to begin the end of the Trump administration,” he said. “I was glad to do my duty and rid our nation of a petty dictator. Had he won a second term, there is no limit to the damage he could have done to the world.”
Arends, who by then appeared to be holding back tears, concluded the speech by addressing his ailing condition.
“It was important for me to do this one thing that I could do while I still can,” he said, before placing his head down on the desk. At that point, he was comforted by fellow elector Julian Wheeler, who placed a hand on his shoulder while the rest of the chamber applauded.
In an interview with The Everett Herald published Monday, Arends described his Electoral College duties as “one last box I want to check — I am determined to check it.”
“I don’t know how much time I am going to have on this earth,” he said. “But I am going to make it count while I am here and that includes being an elector.”