Politics

'Faithless Electors' Turn Out To Be Democrats

| by Nik Bonopartis

After an intense effort to influence members of the electoral college -- including everything from impassioned pleas to death threats -- it turned out there were some "faithless" electors who defied the will of the voters they were appointed to represent.

But most of those rogue electors defected from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, not President-elect Donald Trump, when members of the Electoral College met on Dec. 19 to make the results of the Nov. 8 presidential election official.

Four electors from Washington state broke ranks with Clinton -- three of them voted for former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who served during George W. Bush's administration, and the fourth voted for "Faith Spotted Eagle," notes MarketWatch.

Eagle is a Native American of the Yankton Sioux Nation who is known for her activism, particularly for her recent efforts to help block the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines. The vote for Eagle will become a footnote in history, making the 65-year-old activist the first Native American woman to receive an Electoral College vote, RT noted.

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The four Washington defectors represented a third of Clinton's tally in that state after she won 57 percent of the Washington vote on Nov. 8.

In Hawaii, which awards four electoral votes to the candidate who carries that state, one elector chose to cast a vote for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders instead of Clinton, according to Reuters.

In Maine and Minnesota, two other electors tried to break ranks and vote for Sanders. In the former, the elector's vote was rejected and he voted for Clinton on a subsequent ballot, while the Minnesota elector was replaced by an alternate who voted for Clinton.

The two Republican electors who broke ranks came from Texas, traditionally a deep red state.

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Elector Chris Suprun had already signaled his intention to cast his vote for Ohio Gov. John Kasich, explaining his decision in a Dec. 6 editorial in The New York Times. Another Texas elector -- who was not identified, as the state uses a secret ballot system -- voted for former Texas congressman and two-time presidential candidate Ron Paul, Reuters reported.

For the Democrats, the Dec. 19 electoral vote marked the largest number of defectors from the party's candidate since 1972. In that year, a total of 63 electors opted not to vote for Horace Greeley, the Democratic nominee in that election, because he died after election day but before the Electoral College convened, according to Reuters.

In total, Trump was awarded 304 electoral votes, while Clinton earned 227, an Associated Press tally confirmed.

Although the Electoral College vote has been nothing more than a formality in the vast majority of elections, the Dec. 19 vote was watched closely because of the contentious nature of the election, and because of the ongoing efforts to stall Trump's inauguration.

A group of celebrities, led by actors Martin Sheen and Debra Messing, posted a video to YouTube pleading with Republican electors to turn on Trump, while Harvard professor Lawrence Lessig offered free legal advice to Republicans who were thinking of voting for anyone other than the president-elect. Lessig had claimed as many as 30 Republicans were planning to break ranks, but the mutiny never materialized.

Sources: MarketWatch, Reuters, RT / Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

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