DemDaily: The Electoral College & Today’s Vote

December 19, 2016
The 538 members of the Electoral College meet in all 50 state capitols and DC to cast their votes today to complete the official process of making Donald Trump the "President-Elect."

This is historically a ceremonial ritual, and unknown to most Americans as a part of the electoral process, but one that has become front and center with Hillary Clinton's win of the popular vote by now almost 3 million votes.  This would be only the fifth time in history for a candidate to win the popular vote, but lose the electoral vote - and hence the election itself.

The outcry was brought to a new level, however, following confirmation by 17 U.S. Intelligence Agencies that the election was "hacked" by the Russians in an attempt "to harm Hillary Clinton's chances and promote Donald J. Trump."
The Electoral College is a group of 538 representatives, chosen by each state party, who pledge to cast their state's votes for the presidential candidate who wins the popular vote margin within that state (with the exception of Nebraska and Maine which distribute Electors proportionately).
The Electors meet in each state and cast their vote for President and Vice President on separate ballots. The votes are counted and sent to the new Congress for certification of the official election results on January 6, 2017.
Electors are not required to vote the same way that their state voted, but in most states they face a fine or misdemeanor charge for voting against the will of their state.
The Intelligence report triggered a bi-partisan call for an investigation from Congress, a call for a full intelligence briefing prior to today's vote by 80 electors, and a pledge by at least one "faithless" Texas Republican elector who has pledged not to vote for Trump in light of the revelations.
As the votes are underway today protestors in every state capitol are launching an appeal to potential "Hamilton Electors" to switch their vote.
Alexander Hamilton, one of the constitution's founding fathers, asserted in Federalist Paper #68 that a core purpose of the Electoral College was to prevent a "desire in foreign power to gain an improper ascendent in our councils."
While the Donald is assured of winning the 270 votes needed to secure the presidency, the Electoral College process is likely to come under unprecedented scrutiny in the future.
The repercussions of Russian interference in the US presidential, and the outcome of an investigation, will not be known for some time.
DemList will keep you informed.
 
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Sources: Politico, The Hill, Wikipedia, Homeland Security

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