A coalition of liberal groups are trying hard to convince enough Republican delegates to the Electoral College to vote against Donald Trump in order to deprive the president-elect of the 270 votes he needs to enter office.
The 538 electors will convene at governors’ offices and state capitols across the US on Monday to officially elect Trump as the 45th president of the United States.
Under the US Constitution, the president is not elected through popular vote. American voters rather vote for members of the Electoral College who elect the president on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December after the presidential election. A majority of 270 electoral votes are required to elect the president.
Though he lost the popular vote to his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton by nearly 3 million votes in the Nov. 8 election, Trump won enough states to claim 306 electoral votes to emerge as the victor.
Anti-Trump groups are now resorting to lawsuits, petitions, and public and private pressure to try to persuade at least 37 GOP electors to break away with Trump, The Hill reported.
A number of electors have already made their protest votes public. However, there are no real indications that the results would deviate much from Election Day.
Bob Muller, a Republican county chairman in North Carolina and a Trump elector, said he has received correspondence from “everywhere from Maine to California” asking him to change his vote.
“I just ignore them,” Muller told the congressional newspaper.
Even if enough GOP electors vote differently and deny Trump the majority he needs, the election will then be decided in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, which would almost certainly certify Trump’s victory.
A Harvard University law professor said Tuesday that about 20 Republican electoral voters were considering peeling away from Trump.
“Obviously, whether an elector ultimately votes his or her conscience will depend in part upon whether there are enough doing the same,” Larry Lessig told POLITICO.
“We now believe there are more than half the number needed to change the result seriously considering making that vote,” said Lessig, who has been offering free legal counsel to “faithless electors.”
Faithless electors are rare but not unprecedented in American election history.