The meeting of the Electoral College – taking place at statehouses across the country – is typically a formality. But an extra bit of drama was added to the proceedings as a concerted campaign took place among activists and even celebrities to convince electors to vote their conscience.
Their efforts failed. Trump, who won 30 states with a total of 306 electoral votes, amassed enough votes on Monday afternoon when Texas electors cast their ballots, according to an Associated Press tally.
In fact, the electors who switched their votes were at the expense of Hillary Clinton. Four electors in Washington state, which she won handily, cast their ballots for someone else. Three went to Colin Powell and one for “Faith Spotted Eagle.” In Texas, which Trump won, one elector cast his ballot for John Kasich and another for Ron Paul.
The effort to convince electors to vote against Trump was motivated in part by concerns over Russian influence in the electoral process. US intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia was behind the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and of John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman, in an effort to tilt the election toward Trump. Some activists pointed to the words of Alexander Hamilton, one of the founding fathers, and his intent for the Electoral College to be a guard against foreign influence of elections.
Although Trump won the electoral vote, after breaking through in traditionally Democratic states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin, he fell far short in the popular vote. Clinton won more than 2.8 million votes, and was more than two percentage votes ahead of Trump. Protesters gathered in some state capitals.
Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, was an elector in New York, which cast all of its 29 votes for her. He told reporters afterward: “I’ve never cast a vote I was prouder of.”
He blamed his wife’s loss on Russian hacking and FBI Director James Comey’s letter, which came 11 days before the election, that it was looking into a new batch of emails in its investigation of her use of a private server.
The results will be officially tabulated and announced in a special joint session of Congress on January 6.
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