Members of the Electoral College gathered at state capitols nationwide on Monday and formally elected Donald Trump as the next US president amid tepid last-ditch protests.
Despite Hail Mary attempts by anti-Trump protesters to convince electors to vote for a more moderate Republican “compromise” candidate, only a handful of electors refused to vote for the candidate who won their state.
In Minnesota — where Hillary Clinton won — Muhammad Abdurrahan chose to abstain from voting.
Under Minnesota’s state’s law, electors are required to vote for the candidate who won the state. According to reporters at the state house, an alternate elector was sworn in to replace him.
In Colorado, another elector was replaced after refusing to vote for Clinton. The elector is a Bernie Sanders supporter who, before the election, threatened to withhold his vote unless Clinton granted an interview to the Young Turks about the Dakota Access Pipeline.
In Washington state, there were four "faithless" electors. Three cast votes for Colin Powell and one for Faith Spotted Eagle instead of Clinton, according to The Guardian.
Electors in major swing states Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, and Wisconsin had cast their vote by mid-afternoon, nearly giving Trump the 270 votes he needs to secure the presidency. On Nov. 8, Trump won 306 electoral votes to Clinton’s 232.
"This election represents a movement that millions of hard working men and women all across the country stood behind and made possible," Trump said in a statement on Monday. "With this historic step we can look forward to the bright future ahead. I will work hard to unite our country and be the President of all Americans."
Some anti-Trump protesters — calling themselves the Hamilton Electors after Alexander Hamilton — have argued that the Electoral College was created precisely to prevent unqualified candidates from taking office, and have encouraged electors in heavily Republican states to defy their electorate, bombarding them with thousands of emails and phone calls. The efforts were loosely organized and quickly lost steam.
The Hamilton Electors said Monday that despite Trump's victory they "remained buoyed by widespread grassroots and bipartisan support to stop Trump."
"Although today’s result confirmed Donald Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton," they said, "it further revealed his unprecedented unpopularity and underlined the urgent need for comprehensive electoral and political reform in the country. Such reforms may include significantly altering the Electoral College in favor of selecting future US president by those who win a national popular vote."
The group Unite for America said its main goal was to flip electors. On Monday the group said in a statement that it "always knew" Trump winning the vote "was a possibility and we will continue to fight for what we believe is right and continue to encourage Americans from both sides for the aisle to unite for America."
To successfully change the outcome of the election, a total of 37 Republican electors would have to flip their votes to someone other than Trump.
Michael Banerian, an elector from Michigan, told CNN on Monday that he has received thousands of letters and emails asking him to vote for Clinton or another Republican candidate — as well as some death threats.
“Unfortunately, in some of those, I have received death threats,” he said. “I had people that have talked about putting a bullet in the back of my mouth, burning my family, sending me pictures of nooses.”
Regardless of the messages, Banerian said he would not flip his vote — even if Michigan law allowed it.
“To change our votes going into this meeting would be completely deceptive to the voters of Michigan,” he said. “Millions of people voted for us as Trump/Pence electors, so I don't think there's any precedence for it.”
Only two of the 538 electors had publicly said they planned to vote for a candidate other than the one who carried his state.
David Bright, an elector from Maine, said Monday he will cast his vote for Bernie Sanders in a way of acknowledging the efforts of Sanders’ supporters, according to the Associated Press.
While Bright cast his vote for Sanders, it was treated as “out of order,” rescinded, and given to Clinton.
Maine is one of only two states that does not follow a “winner takes all” method and splits the electoral votes by district, meaning Clinton received three votes while Trump received one.
The other defector is Chris Suprun for Texas.
While protests were scheduled for state capitols across the country, most were small and peaceful.
In Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, 12 protesters were arrested for disorderly conduct for blocking down traffic.
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