Revolt fizzles as Trump easily wins Electoral College vote
WASHINGTONDespite weeks of lobbying and a day of protests, U.S. President-elect Donald Trump won all but two of the Electoral College votes he claimed on Election Day, ensuring he will become America’s 45th president.
There were more protest votes among Democratic electors - five - than there were among Republicans.
All 538 electors met in state capitals across the country Dec. 19 to cast their votes.
Under normal circumstances, the college vote is a little-watched, rubber stamp formality in which electors - most of them party members - officially cast ballots for the candidate that won the popular tally in their state.
Trump’s polarizing victory in November and the fact that Democrat Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by more than 2.8 million votes had stirred an intense lobbying effort. But the endeavor produced more noise than results.
With all states reporting, Trump finished with 304 votes and Clinton had 227, The Associated Press reported. It takes 270 Electoral College votes to win the presidency. Texas put Trump over the top, despite two Republican electors casting protest votes.
The Electoral College vote works like this: when U.S. voters cast ballots on Nov. 8, they did not directly elect the president but rather 538 electors charged with translating their wishes into reality.
“We did it!” Trump tweeted on the evening of Dec. 19. “Thank you to all of my great supporters, we just officially won the election (despite all of the distorted and inaccurate media).”
He later issued a statement saying: “With this historic step we can look forward to the bright future ahead. I will work hard to unite our country and be the President of all Americans.”
Befitting an election filled with acrimony, thousands of protesters converged on state capitals Dec. 19, urging Republican electors to abandon their party’s winning candidate.
More than 200 demonstrators braved freezing temperatures at Pennsylvania’s capitol, chanting, “No Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA!” and “No treason, no Trump!”
In Madison, Wisconsin, protesters shouted, cried and sang “Silent Night.” In Augusta, Maine, they banged on drums and held signs that said, “Don’t let Putin Pick Our President,” referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Among the Republican electors in Texas who cast protest votes, one voted for Ohio Gov. John Kasich; the other voted for former Texas Rep. Ron Paul.
Clinton lost four electors in Washington state - three voted for former Secretary of State Colin Powell and one voted for Native American tribal leader Faith Spotted Eagle. She also lost an elector in Hawaii to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Clinton beat Sanders in the Democratic primaries.
Several Democratic electors in other states tried to vote for protest candidates but they either changed their votes to Clinton or were replaced.
The Electoral College has 538 members, with the number allocated to each state based on how many representatives it has in the House plus one for each senator. The District of Columbia gets three, despite the fact that the home to Congress has no vote in Congress.
There is no constitutional provision or federal law that requires electors to vote for the candidate who won their state - though some states require their electors to vote for the winning candidate.