Technically, the President (and the Vice-President) are not elected until the electors for each state meet in the capital of said state and each cast one vote for President and one for Vice-President. Each state has a number of electors equal to the total of their representatives in the lower house of Congress plus their Senators. This means that the states with lower populations actually have a disproportionately greater say in the outcome of the Presidential election because even states that don’t have enough population to get more than one Representative have two Senators. We can argue later about why the Founding Fathers set up this system1, but it’s the system we have.
And this is how we’re in a spot where one candidate has received more than 2 million more votes than the one that everyone is calling the winner.
So, on December 19 the electors meet, and under the Constitution can technically cast their votes for just about anyone. Many states levy fines against electors who do not cast their votes for the candidate who won the most votes in that state, but 33 do not. And that’s what this movement is about. And it’s not just about signing a petition. There’s more: 16 DAYS LEFT: AN ACTION PLAN TO STOP DONALD TRUMP.
I don’t have a lot of hope for it, to be honest. Each campaign that has a candidate on a state ballot submits its list of electors, and the electors already pledged to one candidate or the other are the only ones who meet to cast their votes. This is why the recount lawsuits were our best2 shot at stopping the orange narcissist and the band of neo-Nazis that he is putting in charge from coming to power. If a recount in a state showed that a different candidate had won, then a different set of electors would meet in that state’s capitol.
So, if you participate in the letter writing campaign, understand that we’re asking people who committed to vote for the Bratman to, instead, vote for the candidate that most of them loathe3. And know that one of the Texas electors is so angry at people contacting him that he tried to get the Texas Attorney General to file charges4 against the first many people who did so.
Still, even if all we accomplish is get a few more people to understand exactly why the Electoral College must go6, this effort will have been worth it.
1. Two reasons:
- they were extremely fond of legislative bodies which they believed were more thoughtful than ordinary voters,
- the slave states had lower population densities than the non-slave states at the time and liked a system that gave them some leverage to get the northern states from ending slavery by a popular vote.
2. And we knew it was a slim chance, but…
3. Decades of demonization by Fox “news” and white nationalists et al will do that.
4. I don’t know what crime he thought they committed. And here’s the thing: technically, being an elector means that you are, for at least a brief time, a government official. That means petitioning you is a right that we are all guaranteed under the First Amendment of the Constitution. The same one these manbabies are always citing when they want to call discrimination “religious freedom.”5
5. And when I said in the first footnote that the Founding Fathers were fond of legislative bodies, one of the things they envisioned was citizens being able to contact the electors and say, “I know the vote went one way earlier, but we have more information now…”
6. Previous times that the candidate who lost the popular vote won the elector college vote have all resulted in disastrous presidents. Just sayin’!