The Change.org petition to make Hillary Clinton president has reached 4.7 million signatures. The petition is now the largest in the history of the website, according to the Daily Dot. The petition calls on members of the Electoral College to vote for Clinton when they meet this month.
Hillary Clinton won the popular vote in the November 8 election by around 2.5 million votes but lost in the Electoral College, where Donald Trump picked up important swing states and broke through Clinton’s “blue wall” by winning Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
The Change.org petition asks the electors to ignore their pledge to vote for the winning candidate in their state and vote for Clinton instead. Electors are not legally bound to respect their pledges in most states, and only two states have laws that would punish electors for changing their vote.
“Donald Trump has not been elected president,” Change.org’s petition says.
“The real election takes place December 19, when the 538 Electors cast their ballots – for anyone they want. We are calling on ‘Conscientious Electors’ to protect the Constitution from Donald Trump, and to support the national popular vote winner.”
The U.S. Constitution lays out the process for electing the president. The Electoral College members in each state meet on December 19 to formally cast their votes. Electors pledge to be bound by the results in their states before the election and those who refuse to pledge can be removed from the college but there is nothing stopping electors changing their minds when they meet. Any electors who change their vote are called “faithless electors.”
The petition on Change.org has broken the record for most supporters on the site. The call for electors to change their vote now has more signatures than Hillary Clinton’s lead in the popular vote. The petition has reached nearly 5 million signatures in less than a month.
Professor Daniel Brezenoff started the move on Change.org on November 10, just two days after the election. Brezenoff wants to stop the electoral college, casting 307 votes for Donald Trump on December 19, and the popularity of his petition has caused increased scrutiny of the Electoral College and how presidential elections work.
Some members of the Electoral College have already declared they will become faithless electors, Politico reports. Some of those faithless electors are trying to convince other electors to join them in voting for Hillary Clinton. Clinton’s large lead in the popular vote has convinced some electors that she should become the next president, despite Donald Trump’s victory in more states.
Faithless electors have not changed the outcome of an election in recent history. Only a handful of electors have broken their pledges over the last century, and none have succeeded in changing the outcome. If enough faithless electors in key states vote for Clinton, she could win the electoral college or the result could be a tie. Even in this unlikely scenario, an electoral college revolt would not guarantee Clinton the White House. Following the disputed presidential election of 1876, Congress introduced new laws that further contemplate the process.
Electors may feel pressured by colleagues who have chosen to become faithless and the Change.org petition calling for them to change their votes. With almost 5 million people asking the Electoral College to choose Hillary Clinton on December 19, faithless electors could become an important force in the presidential election for the first time in modern election history.
The Change.org petition is still open for signatures and it is approaching 4.8 million signatures of the 6 million its creator is seeking. While it is already the largest petition on the site, the appeal to electoral college needs around 1.2 million new supporters to reach its goal before the Electoral College meets.
[Featured Image by Cliff Owen/AP Images]