Electoral College vote ensures Trump presidency
Elections | Despite protests against the president-elect, more electors defected from Hillary Clinton
by Evan Wilt
Posted 12/19/16, 06:41 pm
The Electoral College officially selected Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States on Monday, despite nationwide protests.
Presidential electors, bound by tradition and sometimes law, to support the winner of their state’s popular vote, cast enough ballots to put Trump past the needed 270-vote threshold. Often just a footnote to cap the presidential election cycle, this year’s vote generated unusual drama as thousands stood outside state capitols to demand electors break tradition and vote for someone other than Trump.
Many electors received dozens of phone calls and emails demanding they vote for Hillary Clinton, who won the popular vote, or someone else. But in the end more electors defected from Clinton than Trump.
Two electors in Texas decided not to vote for Trump out of protest: One voted for Ohio Gov. John Kasich and one for former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas. A third Texas elector resigned and an alternate stepped in, voting for Trump. The remaining Texas electors put Trump over the top just after 5 p.m.
Electors in several states won by Clinton decided to cast protest votes of their own. In Minnesota, one elector attempted to vote for former Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. The elector quickly got replaced by an alternate since state law requires electors to vote in accordance with popular vote results. The same thing happened to another Democratic elector in Colorado.
In Washington state, where electors are not legally bound, four out of 12 Democratic electors broke from Clinton. Three decided to vote for former Secretary of State Colin Powell and one voted for Faith Spotted Eagle, a Native American elder from South Dakota.
It was the first time in 40 years Washington electors broke from the popular vote for president.
States must submit a “certificate of vote” to the Federal Register by Dec. 28. Congress will convene on Jan. 6 to tally the Electoral College votes and make Trump’s presidency official. The inauguration ceremony is set for Jan. 20.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Evan is a reporter for WORLD Digital based in Washington, D.C.