After Donald Trump‘s controversial win in the general election, a Change.org petition has a
simple request for the Electoral College: Forget that guy, choose Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
Hillary won the popular vote. The only reason Trump “won” is because of the Electoral College.
But the Electoral College can actually give the White House to either candidate. So why not use this most undemocratic of our institutions to ensure a democratic result?
SHE WON THE POPULAR VOTE.
It has over 2 million signatures as of Friday, 9:19 a.m. Their goal is 3 million.
Clinton has maintained a consistent, if slight, lead in the popular vote (ballots are still being counted). However, Trump got the states which gave him enough Electoral College votes to win the presidency. If we go by tradition, then electors will choose him when they meet on December 19.
The Founding Fathers at the 1787 constitutional convention literally planned for select electors (chosen by state lawmakers) to pick the president. This was designed to limit popular control of the executive branch. State law and cultural expectations changed this in the following years. Nowadays, electors are expected to choose whichever candidate won more votes in their state (Nebraska and Maine portion their electoral votes proportionately).
However, things stopped short of an actual constitutional amendment, and that’s the opening which the petitioners are taking. Now they’re asking electors in Trump states like Pennsylvania and Florida to go for Clinton.
America has seen “faithless electors” before. However, there has never been enough to spark a constitutional crisis. But if that changed on December 19—Well, it’s hard to tell what would actually happen. However, many states do have laws in place that would fine/punish electors who veer off course.
But, if electors don’t follow or don’t care about the law, that could definitely sway a tied vote to one candidate or the other. If that happens, you can bet the losing party (Trump or Clinton) will take legal action.
[image via Joseph Sohm and Shutterstock]
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