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article imageMore U.S. faithless electors vote against Clinton than Trump

By Ken Hanly     Dec 20, 2016 in Politics
Washington - In the U.S. system the President and Vice-President are not directly elected according to whether they receive the most votes but are elected by 535 members of the electoral college who are supposed to vote according to the results in each state.
Each state is assigned a certain number of electoral college members. The electors are expected to vote in line with the results in the state elections. In the 2016 election Donald Trump won 306 electors and Hillary Clinton 232. Trump needed just 270 votes to win and he easily achieved that. However, he did not receive 306 votes when the electors actually voted but just 304 and Hillary Clinton lost even more votes receiving just 227.
While expected to vote in line with state results electors can vote for anyone they want except in states that have laws forcing them to vote according to the results. In the 2016 election there turned out to be seven "faithless electors", five pledged to vote for Clinton and two for trump. This is the largest number of faithless electors since back in the 1800's. In the last century there has never been more than one in each election. The seven faithless electors were from just three states: 2016: four of the seven "faithless" (or "rogue") Electors were in Washington State (which had gone for Mrs. Clinton in the General Election this past 8 November); one (who voted for Senator Sanders) was in Hawaii (which had also gone for Mrs. Clinton); and the remaining two were in Texas (a State which had gone for Mr. Trump in the November Election).
Critics of president-elect Trump had been holding out hope for weeks that his election could be stopped through having enough of those pledged to vote for him under the system turn into faithless electors. There was never even any mention of the fact that electors might not vote for Clinton either. In fact, faithless electors are often those of the candidate who lost the electoral vote. A faithless elector can at least rationalize that the vote will not likely effect the outcome. Not only did Clinton suffer more defections than Trump, she could have suffered even more: One otherwise Hillary Clinton Elector in Colorado attempted to vote for John Kasich and was replaced by an alternate who, instead, voted for Mrs. Clinton; another otherwise Clinton Elector in Maine attempted to vote for Bernie Sanders, but was ruled Out of Order and, instead, thereafter voted for Mrs. Clinton; and yet another Clinton Elector in Minnesota also attempted to vote for Senator Sanders but, as a result, was also replaced by another person who voted for Mrs. Clinton.
Politico claims that the previous record number of faithless electors was in 1808 when six electors opposed James Madison. However, this does not count defections in voting for vice-presidential candidates nor elections with special circumstances. In 1872, 63 Democratic electors did not vote for candidate Horace Greeley since he had died. In 1832 32 electors were faithless but only two with respect to the president.
Of the four votes against Clinton in Washington State, three were for retired general Colin Powell, a Republican. They had hoped to convince Republican electors to follow suit and vote for Powell as a compromise candidate. It never happened. The other elector Robert Satiacum voted for Native American activist Faith Spotted Eagle. The final vote against Clinton was for Bernie Sanders and came from Hawaii. Both faithless electors against Trump came from Texas, with Chris Suprun voting for Ohio Governor John Kasich as was expected. Another elector voted for former Representative Ron Paul a libertarian which was unexpected.
More about faithless electors, US electoral college, Donald trump, Hillary clinton
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