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What to expect from the electoral college vote

Posted: 2:18 PM, Dec 16, 2016
Updated: 2016-12-16 22:21:58Z

On Election Night, Donald Trump secured a majority of the Electoral College votes, and on Monday, the country's 538 electors will meet in every state to make our presidential election official.

Donald Trump's 306 electoral votes are 36 more than the 270 he needed to win, but as Hillary Clinton's popular vote lead approaches 3 million and reports of Russia's interference for Trump continue to make headlines, efforts are underway to sway 37 of his pledged electors away from casting ballots for him on Monday.

A handful of Democratic electors, going by the name Hamilton Electors, has enlisted Hollywood actors in a video released this week to convince Republican electors to vote their conscience.

The group takes its name from Alexander Hamilton, who, when trying to get New Yorkers to ratify the constitution in 1788, pitched the Electoral College as a way to prevent foreign powers from influencing American elections or governance, and to keep those with "talents for low intrigue and the little arts of popularity" out of the presidency.

But Garrett Epps, a law professor at University of Baltimore and a writer for The Atlantic, says Hamilton's pitch isn't really why the Framers created the Electoral College.

"The purpose of the Electoral College was to permit the slave states to have their influence in choosing the president while not allowing most of the people in their borders to vote," Epps said. Because of that origin, and the electoral college's repeated failures going back to 1800, Epps says working within the system is beside the point.

"We should be saying what is manifestly clear: the Electoral College needs to go. It is not a good thing, and it endangers our democracy and it endangers the country," he said. "I think the people who have convinced themselves somehow that the electors are going to step in and block Trump are just living in a fool's paradise."

After the electors vote in every statehouse on Monday, their ballots will be sent to the U.S. Capitol, where the Senate on January 6 will count the ballots and officially announce the President and Vice President of the United States.

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