The final days of the 2016 presidential election might seem as though they're behind us, but that is actually not the case. Despite the fact that President-elect Donald Trump is channeling all of his energy into future Cabinet appointments for his administration and plans for his January inauguration, there is still one major hurdle he must jump, and it's an important one. When the 538 members of the Electoral College cast its vote on Monday, that will be the last step on the road to his inauguration. If the Electoral College casts its official vote for Trump, he will become the 45th President of the United States.
The Electoral College has a long and illustrious history as the final, formal vote cast for an incoming president. In the 1800s, the College was formed by the Founding Fathers as a middle ground, to offer each state a distinct voice in the outcome of the election. There are 538 Electoral College votes, and a presidential nominee needs 270 of those to win a majority. Each state has both Republican and Democrat representatives ready to cast their ballot based on which way their state voted. The Electoral College is scheduled to convene at 2 p.m. on Monday.
After a particularly divisive election between former Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and President-elect Donald Trump, voters from the Electoral College are under intense scrutiny and pressure in the days leading up to the final vote. Many have said they are being barraged by emails and letters from concerned citizens who are urging them not to vote for Trump at the 11th hour. One elector from Texas, Art Sisneros, resigned his position as an elector last month rather than voting for Trump because he felt it would be a "dishonor to God".
Another elector from Texas, Christopher Suprun, wrote an editorial for The New York Times called "Why I Will Not Cast My Electoral Vote For Trump." Suprun cited Trump's lack of foreign policy experience, Russia's involvement in the election to urge voters towards Trump, and Trump's financial conflicts as his reasons, writing:
Fifteen years ago, I swore an oath to defend my country and Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. On Dec. 19, I will do it again.
Despite Suprun's impassioned plea, the Electoral College vote is expected to turn out in Trump's favor. Many critics continue to hope they can flip 37 votes, which would bring Trump's Electoral College votes below the 270 needed and send the decision to the House of Representatives. But most of the electors have pledged to vote in his favor on Monday. As Nashville attorney Tom Lawless told The Guardian:
Hell will freeze and we will be skating on the lava before I change. He won the state and I’ve pledged and gave my word that that’s what I would do. And I won’t break it.