The Times-Tribune

Electors make it official

Voters formally endorse Trump despite protests

- BY STEPHEN OHLEMACHER

WASHINGTON — There were many protesters but few faithless electors as Donald Trump won the Electoral College vote Monday — ensuring he will become America’s 45th president.

An effort by anti-Trump forces to persuade Republican electors to abandon the president-elect came to practicall­y nothing and the process unfolded largely according to its traditions. Mr. Trump’s polarizing victory Nov. 8 and the fact Democrat Hillary Clinton had won the national popular vote had stirred an intense lobbying effort, but to no avail.

“We did it!” Mr. Trump tweeted Monday evening. “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.”

Even one of Mr. Trump’s fiercest Republican rivals, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, said it was time to get behind the president-elect.

“We want unity, we want love,”

Mr. Kasich said as Ohio’s electors voted to back Mr. Trump at a statehouse ceremony. Mr. Kasich refused to endorse or even vote for Mr. Trump in the election.

With all states voting, Mr. Trump finished with 304 votes and Mrs. Clinton had 227. It takes 270 Electoral College votes to win the presidency. Texas put Mr. Trump over the top, despite two Republican electors casting protest votes.

Befitting an election filled with acrimony, thousands of protesters converged on state capitols across the country Monday, 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.

Despite the noise outside state Capitols, inside, the voting

went pretty much as planned.

In Nashville, Tennessee, one audience member tried to read out some Scripture before the ballots were cast, but was told he could not speak.

“We certainly appreciate the Scripture,” State Election Coordinato­r Mark Goins said from the podium. “The answer is no.”

With all Republican states reporting, Mr. Trump lost only the two electors in Texas. One voted for Mr. Kasich, the Ohio governor; the other voted for former Texas Rep. Ron Paul.

Mrs. 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. Mrs. Clinton beat Mr. Sanders in the Democratic primaries.

Several Democratic electors in other states tried to vote for protest candidates but they either changed their votes to Mrs. 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.

Republican electors were deluged with emails, phone calls and letters urging them not to support Mr. Trump. Many of the emails are part of coordinate­d campaigns.

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.

 ?? MATT ROURKE / ASSOCIATED PRESS ?? Electors arrive for Pennsylvan­ia’s Electoral College at the state Capitol in Harrisburg on Monday.
MATT ROURKE / ASSOCIATED PRESS Electors arrive for Pennsylvan­ia’s Electoral College at the state Capitol in Harrisburg on Monday.
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