The Electoral College is set to cast the final vote for President-elect Donald Trump on Monday. Traditionally speaking, the final vote at the Electoral College feels like something of a formality. Normally, many voters see it as the formal last step before the presidential inauguration; After all, the next president has been chosen by the people so there really shouldn't be any surprises, right? Well... yes and no. Because the 2016 presidential election has been anything but normal. This year, the pressure for the electors is on. People are wondering how many electors could change their vote, how it would affect the outcome of the election if enough votes were changed; and whether there's any way to stop Donald Trump at this stage of the game. Or are we all just kidding ourselves?
The Electoral College was created in the 1800s by the Founding Fathers as a middle ground between the voting public and Congress; Each state has a proportionate group of electors, both Republican and Democratic, to represent them at the Electoral College. It is the duty of these electors to cast their vote however their state had already chosen, unless these electors choose to be so-called "faithless" electors and vote their conscience instead. While 29 states (plus the District of Columbia) have bound their electors by law to vote the same as their state, there are others that allow for "faithless" electors. In Trump's case, 155 of his 306 electors could change their vote if they don't agree that Trump should be president.
Presidential electors across the country have reportedly been inundated with emails and messages from concerned citizens pleading with them to change their vote when the Electoral College meets on Monday. One Republican elector in Texas, Art Sisneros chose to resign rather than cast a vote for Trump, he wrote in a blog post:
I believe to resign is to honor the intent of the pledge as it relates to the people of my district. Since I can’t in good conscience vote for Donald Trump, and yet have sinfully made a pledge that I would, the best option I see at this time is to resign my position as an Elector.
Another GOP elector from Texas, Chris Suprun, wrote an editorial for The New York Times explaining why he would not cast his vote for Trump, and why he's hoping his fellow electors do the same.
Despite the fact that many of the electors have said they would do their duty and vote as their state has voted, which would give President-elect Trump the 270 votes he needs to become president, 30 electors have signed a letter to National Intelligence Director James Clapper asking for a briefing about Russia's involvement in the 2016 presidential election before the Electoral College vote on Monday. The letter read in part:
The Electors require to know from the intelligence community whether there are ongoing investigations into ties between Donald Trump, his campaign or associates, and Russian government interference in the election, the scope of those investigations, how far those investigations may have reached, and who was involved in those investigations. We further require a briefing on all investigative findings, as these matters directly impact the core factors in our deliberations of whether Mr. Trump is fit to serve as President of the United States.
All of this to say... perhaps all is not yet lost.