Six former Bernie Sanders supporters in the Electoral College have joined forces in the hope of bucking their state-mandated vote in an attempt to keep Donald Trump out of the the White House. There’s just one problem: They are mandated to vote for Hillary Clinton.
The small contingent hails from the states of Washington and Colorado, but both states went to Clinton in the general election Nov. 8. The small group plans to vote against Clinton for the simple reason of instilling doubt in the constitutionally-enshrined institution of the Electoral College.
Instead of pulling votes away from Trump, the group is trying to raise the number of electors who vote in a way other than how they are directed by their respective states. Electors who vote opposite of their mandate are called “faithless objectors,” and the Bernie supporters are trying to reach Trump electors who could be on the fence about supporting the President-elect.
“If you could get eight or 10 Trump electors to vote for someone else … then that would probably get people’s attention,” political science professor and Electoral College expert at Texas A&M University George Edwards III told Politico. “We haven’t ever had that many faithless electors in one election.”
“If we cannot use the Electoral College as a deliberative process … then we ought to do away with it,” group leader and Colorado elector Michael Baca told Politico.
The group asserts that in order to succeed in their goal, they would have to convince 37 Republican electors to vote against Trump, a number the groups understands is unlikely. The ultimate goal, the group says, is to reduce the overall faith the average american voter has in the electoral college system.
Until the actual votes are tallied, it will be very difficult for either Democrats or Republicans to ascertain just how effective the movement is, because there is no organized whip effort to gauge how many electors intend to vote they way they are instructed.
There is no remedy for a faithless elector.
A small number of Trump electors expressed misgivings about supporting the president-elect. Texas elector Art Sisneros told Politico that he hasn’t made up his mind, and South Dakota elector and Gov. Dennis Daugaard called on Trump to withdraw from the race in October.
Even if the six Democrats don’t gain any additional sympathizers to their cause, it would be the first time so many “faithless electors” rejected a living presidential candidate since 1802, according to Politico.
The effort comes shortly after it became clear a constitutional amendment proposed by California Sen. Barbara Boxer would never pass a Republican-controlled Congress. Senators from 11 Democratic states signed on to support the measure, but an amendment would need a lot more support to change the Electoral College.
This report, by Phillip Stucky, was cross-posted by arrangement with the Daily Caller News Foundation.