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Amid Electoral College debate, will some electors go rogue?

Push to reform election process
Push to reform election process 02:13

Hillary Clinton now leads the president-elect by about a million people in the popular vote. But that won’t change the outcome of the election in the crucial Electoral College, where Donald Trump has a big advantage.

Retiring Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer introduced a bill Tuesday to abolish the college, and there’s a growing movement to reform the way we choose our presidents, reports CBS News correspondent Tony Dokoupil.

Protesters are still claiming Donald Trump is not the president they voted for, but none of us actually voted for president last week.

Fighting for Hillary 00:49

Technically, we voted for members of the Electoral College, who will cast the official votes on Dec. 19th.  

Republican elector Alex Triantafilou of Ohio is looking forward to a vote for Mr. Trump.

“I’m a party guy,” Triantafilou said. But he said hundreds of people have asked him to reconsider.

“They’re wasting their time, and they’re only making me stronger in my resolve to go and cast my electoral vote with the voters of Ohio,” Triantafilou said.

Ohio is one of 29 states with rules preventing electors from switching votes. But there’s nothing in the federal law or the Constitution to stop them from going rogue, and at least three Democratic electors are openly trying to persuade others to dump Trump.

“The fact is that the Electoral College is an institution that Americans have been debating off and on since at least the 18-teens,” said Jack Rakove, a history and political science professor at Stanford University. 

Rakove said the founding fathers had their reasons.  

“They were doubtful about the idea of popular election. They were doubtful about the idea of having election by Congress,” Rakove said. “The Electoral College emerged as the best alternative.” 

Mr. Trump attacked the process as “a disaster for democracy” four years ago. But on “60 Minutes” this week, the president-elect softened his tone. 

“I would rather see it where you went with simple votes. You know, you get 100 million votes and somebody else gets 90 million votes and you win,” he said. “There’s a reason for doing this because it brings all the states into play.”

Still, in a year that upended the old ways of Washington, the Electoral College may be upended next.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story misidentified the history and political science professor at Stanford University. His name is Jack Rakove, not John.

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