A historic number of “faithless” electors -- seven in total--each cast their ballots on Monday for a candidate other than the one who won his or her state. What may be more surprising, given the level of protests against Donald Trump and the pressure exerted on Republican electors, is that a greater number were untrue to Hillary Clinton than to Mr. Trump.
Among the 538 electors chosen to represent their states in the Electoral College, five were faithless to the Democratic nominee and two to the Republican. Prior to this year, there hasn’t been more than one faithless elector in any presidential election since 1948.
Among the Democratic faithless electors was David Mulinix, of Hawaii, who cast his vote for Bernie Sanders instead of Hillary Clinton. He said he believes the Electoral College is “outdated,” according to Hawaii News Now, which also pointed out that though Hawaii forbids faithless electors, Mulinix’s vote still counted and he would face no punishment because Hawaii has never bothered to come up with a penalty for breaking the law.
Four of the “faithless” electors came from Washington, a state won by Clinton. Three of them--Bret Chiafalo, 19-year-old Levi Guerra, and Esther John-- cast their votes for former Secretary of State Colin Powell, according to the Seattle Times. They also participated in a movement started by Chiafalo. The so-called “Hamilton Electors” base their ideology on Alexander Hamilton--one of the Founding Fathers who wrote about the Electoral College in the Federalist Papers.
The fourth “faithless” elector, Robert Satiacum, voted for Faith Spotted Eagle--a woman who is a member of the Yankton Sioux Nation, according to a local NBC affiliate. She played a public role in opposing the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines.
President-elect Trump lost Texas elector Christopher Suprun to John Kasich. Another Texas elector, Bill Greene, voted for Libertarian Ron Paul, according to the Texas Monthly.
Though there is no Constitutional provision or federal law barring electors from voting for whom they are pledged, more than half of the states, including D.C., “bind” their electors. The rest of electors may have the legal authority to vote for whomever they want, but, as CBS News previously reported, faithless electors have never decided a presidential election.
The entire procedure lasted well into the evening, with the official tally coming in around 8 p.m--though the president-elect clinched the nomination with the necessary 270 votes earlier in the evening. According to a final tally, Trump received 304 votes compared to Clinton’s 227.
The votes cast Monday will be sent on to the nation’s capital by late December. Subsequently, on Jan. 6, Vice President Joe Biden will open the electoral votes before a joint session of the new Congress, where they will be counted one last time.
CBS News’ Steve Chaggaris contributed to this report.
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