The List Of Faithless Electors In 2016 Isn't Complete
Since President-elect Donald Trump's Electoral College win, reports have come out about Republican electors who supposedly plan to vote for a different candidate — thus reducing the chances of Trump gaining the required number of electoral votes. But the reports are largely unconfirmed, meaning the list of faithless electors in 2016 isn't complete and may not be accurate.
Trump won by 306 electoral votes to his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton's 232 electoral votes. Still, Clinton's overwhelming win of the popular vote, by almost 3 million, has shed doubts on Trump's claims that he won by "a landslide." Trump is likely to be elected anyway due to his Electoral College win, but a group called the "Hamilton Electors" wants to change that. Based on the Federalist Paper No. 68, written by Alexander Hamilton under the pen-name Publius, the paper puts forth the idea that electors should take the public's views into account, but in the end, it's the electors who make the final decision.
Basically, the electors could be the final stand against putting a corrupt candidate, a candidate with associations with ties to a foreign government, or an unqualified candidate into power. According to Hamilton Electors — all Democrats, who are so far identified as Polly Baca and Micheal Baca from Colorado, and Bret Chiafalo and Levi Guerra of Washington, though there are more who are unnamed — Trump is the type of candidate electors should vote against.
To potentially change the results of the election, at least 37 Republican electors would have to agree to not vote for Trump. This would bring him under the 270 vote threshold, sending the decision to Congress. Unfortunately for people against a Trump presidency, it's hard to tell how many electors are actually willing to vote against the Republican candidate. Many of the reports of faithless electors are unconfirmed and anonymous, including an announcement on Facebook by former labor secretary Robert Reich, who claims that three electors called him about possibly not voting for Trump. Just one Republican elector, Chris Suprun from Texas, has confirmed that he will be voting faithlessly, according to the Washington Post.
That means the current list of confirmed names (Democrats and Republicans) only consists of:
- Polly Baca
- Michael Baca
- Bret Chiafalo
- Levi Guerra
- Christopher Suprun
Some electors from Georgia and Texas have resigned from their positions as electors rather than voting for a different candidate, but they will be replaced by other Republicans. There's no federal punishment for electors who vote against party lines, but some states do have sanctions on faithless electors. No state has actually punished a faithless elector; even if they did, the fines placed on faithless electors would likely be in the $500 to $1,000 range.
We'll likely have to wait until Dec. 19, when the Electoral College meets, to see which electors have decided to stray from the norm.