Since November 9, one day after Election Day, America has held a growing interest in a concept known as the faithless elector. As The Inquisitr previously reported, it is one of the legal scenarios that could still change the final 2016 electoral college map and overthrow the Elections 2016 results. In a separate report, an Inquisitr poll found that 65 percent of poll respondents feel that the electors in the electoral college should become faithless electors and vote Hillary Clinton for President by voting against Donald Trump.
Americans have been searching and learning more about the faithless elector than ever before.
TheProvidence Journal reports that grassroots groups and campaigns have sprung up around the country to ask the electors of the electoral college to do the unprecedented, become faithless electors and change the 2016 electoral college map, giving the presidency to someone else. This would require a huge revolt from the electoral college, and would be the first time this has ever happened in history.
Many that are part of the grassroots faithless elector movement feel that this is what the electoral college was created for, by one of America’s founders Alexander Hamilton, America’s first Secretary of Treasury under the George Washington Administration. Hamilton felt that it was the duty of the electoral college to make sure that nobody unfit for office obtained the sacred role of the President of the United States. A movement of the faithless electors that has cropped up in the past week or so is a grassroots group known as the Hamilton Electors, believers in Alexander Hamilton’s wishes for America.
One man, Daniel Brezenoff, has been working a petition and lobbying electors by phone and email in his efforts to convert electors to faithless electors. He told the Providence Journal the following.
“Yes, I think it’s a long shot, but I also think we’re living in strange times. If it ever was plausible, it’s this year.”
The current 2016 electoral college map has Donald Trump with 290 electoral college votes and Hillary Clinton with 232 electoral college votes reports the Providence Journal. Michigan is still undecided. The National Popular Vote tracker has Hillary Clinton ahead in the popular vote by 1.4 million votes at the time of press, and there are many votes still uncounted.
TheProvidence Journal says it is this popular vote that is motivating people to ask electors to change the electoral college vote for the popular vote winner. Even Donald Trump at one point, during the 2012 race between President Obama and Mitt Romney thought the winner of the popular vote should win the election.
There have not been many electors going public to say they are going to change their vote and become faithless electors. There are even fewer who are saying they will vote for Hillary Clinton, but one thing that many on both sides of the aisle agree on is that Donald Trump’s fitness for office is questionable. TheProvidence Journal reports that one Republican Texan elector told the Associated Press the following.
“As a Christian, I came to the conclusion that Mr. Trump is not biblically qualified for that office.”
As Providence Journal reports, the electors of the college are voted for and selected by their own party and typically are among the party’s most loyal activists. It would be rare for them to turn against the party and go against whom they have pledged to vote. But the Constitution says they are not required to vote for a particular candidate says the Providence Journal, and fines could be possible if an elector votes against the party.
In North Carolina, an elector that becomes a faithless elector would just be asked to resign immediately and would be replaced reports the Providence Journal. But this is not the case for every state.
The likelihood of the faithless electors changing the 2016 election results in Hillary Clinton’s favor is slim. However, that does not mean that pundits and electors on both sides of the aisle have stopped looking for alternatives to stop Trump from getting the presidency.
Providence Journal reports that a Washington state elector who is a Democrat is working the party to ask electors to vote for any GOP candidate that isn’t Donald Trump. Anti-Trump protests have spread across the globe and have been reported in Berlin, Germany, and most recently, France.
The two names that keep getting floated around on this are Ohio Governor John Kasich and Mitt Romney. If the members of the electoral college undo the results of election day, and vote for anyone other than Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, the election results then go to Congress to determine the final 2016 election results.
So a faithless elector movement is not the only scenario that could change the final 2016 electoral college map. Congress has a lot of power here. If the electors do not give 270 votes to one candidate, the top three candidates then go to the House to decide.
Inverse reports on the “arcane law” that Congress would use if the electoral college could not come to a 270 vote consensus for one candidate.
How this would happen is all dictated by the Constitution. Once the electoral college meets, regardless of the existence of faithless electors or otherwise, physical copies of the certified votes by the electoral college are mailed from their states to the president of the Senate who is the sitting Vice President, Joe Biden. Once they arrived, the votes are then stored alphabetically in “two special wooden boxes” to await the counting reports Inverse.
After they have all arrived from their respective states, a special joint session of Congress will convene to tally the votes. Watch how that happened here for President Obama’s second term.
As the teller is tallying the votes, they are entered into the public record, and it is at that moment that the results become official. If one candidate has reached 270 electoral college votes, the Vice President will declare a winner.
It is usually a very simple and straightforward process, and for most elections, just a formality by the joint sessions. But, Inverse reports “Congress can turn it into a ten-car pileup on a major highway” if there is a revolt against Donald Trump.
As the votes are read by the teller, a representative of Congress from any state can submit an objection to their own state’s vote, it needs to be submitted in writing. It also is required to bear the signature of one Senator and one representative of the state.
If an objection occurs, and meets those statutes, the joint session ends so that each house can convene to discuss the objection and make their own vote. Inverse reports, “A majority vote in both houses can result in the votes from that state being disqualified and removed from final tally.”
This has happened before in 1872 when Louisiana and Arkansas objected and their votes were removed. Objections also occurred in 2000 and 2004, though those objections were not sustained.
What is the unknown variable here is what leads to an objection being sustained. In the 1872 vote, the Louisiana and Arkansas votes were “plagued by fraud, intimidation, and violence.” Inverse reports that voter suppression and recent conflict on the Voting Rights Act in this election could be enough to warrant the sustaining of an objection in the joint session of Congress.
Additionally, the news that intelligence officials have confirmed a Russian interference with the election could be enough to sustain an objection at the Congressional level. Many Congressional representatives on both sides of the aisle are very concerned about Russian involvement in this election, including Democrat Minority leader Nancy Pelosi of California and Republican Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.
Inverse also reports that Hillary Clinton leading substantially in the popular vote could be enough to sustain an objection. Congress has the final say there, and the complaint needs to be substantial enough to convince the majority of Congress.
This does not mean that Hillary Clinton would become president. Rather, at this point, if neither candidate has reached 270, Congress then essentially determines who the next President will be, based on the top three names that have come up in the votes.
The current House and Senate would be tasked with determining both the president and the vice president. The faithless elector movement is basing their grassroots campaign on the electoral college members sworn duty to abide by the Constitution and “vote with their conscience.”
Congress and the Senate are also under sworn duties to protect and preserve the Constitution. The House is a Republican majority, the Senate has a Democrat majority. As Inverse reports, a revolt of the electoral college, and multiple objections to change the outcome of the 2016 electoral college map has never happened in American history, and the likelihood of it happening is slim.
However, the legal option is there for both Congress and the Senate, if there are enough faithless electors to not vote Trump and change the final 2016 electoral college map. Or, if enough Congressional representatives provide objections in the joint sessions of Congress that determines the next president. It would require enough Congressmen or women in Congress to object to the votes as they are read and to have a Senatorial signature on their formal and written objection.
Thus, for those that have joined the grassroots movement in faithless electors to stop Trump, a petition or call to their Congressional representatives asking them to change their vote in the joint session could be helpful in those efforts.
[Featured Image by Tim Roske/AP Images]