The Electoral College’s vote is happening on December 19, but has any elector publicly said that they plan to switch their vote from Donald Trump to Hillary Clinton? Trump has more electors than he needs to win. He has 306 electors (he only needs 270). This means that 37 people would need to go “faithless” and not vote for him in order to force the vote to the House of Representatives in January. Clinton’s only chance of winning outside of a House vote requires her getting all 38 of Trump’s electors.
In the midst of all of this, some electors are choosing to go their way entirely and not vote for Trump or Clinton. Some of them, the Hamilton Electors, are Democrat electors planning to vote for a compromise Republican candidate in hopes of convincing Republican electors to do the same and keep Trump from winning. Others are voting according to their conscience in different ways. In early December, David Bright, an elector in Maine, said he plans to vote for Bernie Sanders, not Hillary Clinton.
Here are the reactions and plans that electors have publicly shared so far.
Most Electors Aren’t Changing Their Minds
Many Republican electors simply have no interest in changing their vote from Trump. Ken Crider, a Republican elector, shared this photo on Facebook, showing the number of people who wrote him letters that arrived last Friday alone, asking him to change his electoral vote. He noted that this wasn’t even indicative of the number of people who had emailed him also.
Jim Rhoades, a Michigan Republican elector, told Politico that he’s solidly pro-Trump. He’s gotten thousands of emails a day from people who want to change his mind, and he’s going to stay true to his state’s vote.
Charlie Potts, a Republican elector from Oklahoma, said that he would prefer to vote for a different Republican, but he has no plans to go against the people in Oklahoma who voted for Trump. He’d need a more flawed candidate to do that, he told Politico:
Let’s say that somehow the American people nominated a guy who had murdered 47 people, carved ’em all up and put ’em in a ditch and hadn’t been caught yet, and he got nominated for president. Well, you know, then I might change my mind.”
Another elector in Texas, L. Scott Mann, has posted a blog about why he is not changing his mind or flipping his vote. He wrote, in part:
We have received more than 60,000 emails from anti-Trump forces. The emails include passionate pleas, promises of fame, death threats and every vile and vulgar language imaginable. Anyone who is tossed back and forth by waves of public criticism, or who is blown here and there by every wind of a crafty and cunning media, probably ought not be an elector.”
In fact, Martin is posting on Facebook, sharing messages he’s received from electors along with his reactions.
Depending on Who You Ask, the Number of Republican Electors Who May Not Vote for Trump Varies
The number of Republican electors who might not vote for Trump varies widely, depending on which source you’re listening to. On top of that, some have decided to resign rather than vote for Trump or take the highly controversial move of voting for someone else. Others have publicly stated that they’ve received death threats over their decision. It’s all very stressful for the electors during this campaign.
Lawrence Lessig, an attorney giving free legal advice to electors who want to flip, said he’s talked to 20 electors who may switch from Trump. He gave no evidence for this assertion and didn’t share any names. As an attorney, however, he’s bound by attorney-client confidentiality and can’t share that information anyway.
Robert Reich said three electors told him they might change their minds:
Meanwhile, sources with the Republican National Convention have said that they’ve been in touch with nearly all the Republican electors and only one is at risk of flipping. But once again, it’s hard to know how accurate this is or if the information is just being shared to encourage Republican electors to stay true to their state.
So far, only one Republican elector has publicly said that he doesn’t plan to vote for Trump and will flip his vote. Chris Suprun of Texas said he intends to vote for someone other than Trump and wrote a detailed column for The New York Times about his decision. A petition was launched seeking to have Suprun removed as an elector and, so far, the petition has gotten 35,862 signatures.
Meanwhile, Art Sisneros of Texas and Baoky Vu of Georgia said they didn’t want to vote for Trump, but they would resign instead of flipping their vote.
But despite a few that are wavering, it appears most Republican electors intend to stay the course. Brian Westrate, a Republican elector from Wisconsin, said he’s gotten 48,324 emails so far and he’s had some debates with voters. And Hector Maldonado, a Missouri Republican elector, said he talked with a worried single mom who wanted him to change his vote, and assured her that even if Trump won, everything would be OK, The Guardian reported. He said that although he voted for Ted Cruz in the primaries, he’s committed to voting for Trump as an elector and keeping his oath.
Some Democrat Electors May Not Vote for Hillary Clinton
Some electors have even stated that they want to go faithless and not vote for Hillary Clinton. Most of these electors are part of a group called Hamilton Electors. These electors want to keep Trump out of office by convincing Republican electors to support an alternative Republican, such as John Kasich or Mitt Romney. They’ll agree to flip their electoral vote and vote for the Republican alternative too, even though they’re Democrats, as a show of solidarity.
In Colorado, three electors — Polly Baca, Michael Baca, and Michael Nemanich — sued so they could vote for whoever they wanted and not Clinton, who won Colorado. A judge ruled that they have to vote for Clinton and if they don’t, they can be replaced during the vote on Monday, The Washington Times reported.
Vinz Koller, a Democrat elector in California, filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn California’s statute requiring electors to vote according to their state, so he doesn’t have to vote for Hillary Clinton. And in Washington, two Democrat electors — P. Bret Chiafolo and Levi Guerra — filed their own lawsuit seeking a similar outcome. A judge rejected their lawsuit. They plan to appeal.
The Associated Press interviewed 330 electors. They found that Democrat electors are aggravated with the whole process, but few from either side expect the hustle, emails, and Hamilton efforts to actually change the results.