It has long baffled and frustrated people that, here in America, a presidential candidate may lose the popular vote– the number that illustrates who each individual (willing) US citizen wants to be President– yet still be elected based on the Electoral College. Yet the Electoral College has remained in place (at least in part/in theory) because it has an additional function seldom spoken of prior to this year: The ability to prevent someone who is clearly unqualified and/or dangerous to national security from becoming President of the United States.
On December 19th, the Electoral College will convene to determine whether or not it will allow president-elect Donald Trump– a reckless, hate-fueled, politically inept demagogue– to assume the highest office in what we like to call the “free” world. (For how much longer any American can say this with a straight face is anyone’s guess.) Today, I have devoted some time to personally contacting electors in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Indiana and elsewhere; I share the contact information I have found at the end of this post. (Many electors have already deactivated their email accounts and/or removed contact information from their professional websites, Facebook pages, and so on.)
First, here’s the latest scuttlebutt regarding what may or may not happen on December 19th:
Christopher Spurn of Texas is the only elector to have confirmed publicly that he will not vote for Trump.
In an interview with DemocracyNOW!, Spurn said of the response to his decision:
“There’s certainly feedback saying I’m an awful person, I’m a traitor. I saw a tweet a little while ago that said I should live out the rest of my life at Gitmo, which is a scary thought, that when a person takes a conscious decision to vote their conscience, that our answer is to charge them with treason, even verbally.
But the other feedback I’ve received from across Texas, from across my county, from across the country, and even outside the country, has been positive. I’ve had Americans of all shape and form come to me and say, ‘You’ve restored my faith in America, that maybe we can still be that great country we should be.'”
On the subject of a recent Change.Org petition calling for his removal from the College, he said:
“If there’s a link, I get those tweets all the time. People say, “Where can I sign up?” I can’t respond to them all, but I try and refer them to Change.org. This is a great country. I am so glad I live in America, where people have the First Amendment right to tell me they think I’m wrong. I’m OK with that. Fill out the petition. We’ll go through the process. If there is a process to remove me, I’m going to oppose it, obviously, but that’s how democracy works. That’s how our First Amendment works.“
Spurn also wrote an op-ed about why he is not voting for Trump, which was published by the New York Times on Monday, 12/12, precisely one week before the fateful vote. Here’s an excerpt:
Fifteen years ago, as a firefighter, I was part of the response to the Sept. 11 attacks against our nation. That attack and this year’s election may seem unrelated, but for me the relationship becomes clearer every day.
George W. Bush is an imperfect man, but he led us through the tragic days following the attacks. His leadership showed that America was a great nation. That was also the last time I remember the nation united. I watch Mr. Trump fail to unite America and drive a wedge between us.
Mr. Trump goes out of his way to attack the cast of “Saturday Night Live” for bias. He tweets day and night, but waited two days to offer sympathy to the Ohio State community after an attack there. He does not encourage civil discourse, but chooses to stoke fear and create outrage.
This is unacceptable. For me, America is that shining city on a hill that Ronald Reagan envisioned. It has problems. It has challenges. These can be met and overcome just as our nation overcame Sept. 11.
Republican Electors Whisper about Kasich, but He’s Over It
Politico recently reported on RNC activities aimed at ensuring a Trump victory on 12/19:
The Republican National Committee is overseeing an expansive whip operation designed to lock down Donald Trump’s Electoral College majority and ensure that the 306 Republican electors cast their votes for the president-elect.
Two RNC sources familiar with the effort said the committee — with the assistance of state Republican parties and the Trump campaign — have been in touch with most of the GOP electors multiple times, and has concluded that only one is a risk to cast a vote against Trump on Dec. 19, when the Electoral College meets.
While numerous Republicans, including Christopher Spurn, and even some Democrats have whispered amongst themselves that Kasich would be a suitable Republican choice, so as to avoid voting for Hillary while still rejecting Trump and all he brings with him, Kasich beseeches the College not to consider him, stating the following via Twitter:
“I am not a candidate for president and ask that electors not vote for me when they gather later this month. Our country had an election and Donald Trump won. The country is divided and there are certainly raw emotions on both sides stemming from the election. But this approach, as well meaning as it is, will only serve to further divide our nation, when unity is what we need.”
Electors in Colorado Sue over Law Forbidding “Faithless Electors”
“Faithless elector” is the common term employed for any Electoral College member who votes contrary to the way in which the majority in their state voted. States vary widely with respect to how they deal with faithless electors. Some issue fines varying from a few hundred dollars to $5,000; others “fire” you from the College and replace you; still others do nothing at all.
Two electors in Colorado– Polly Baca and Robert Nemanich– have filed suit in federal court over a state law that “forbids” electors from voting against the popular vote results in their state. Surprisingly, while most of the attention surrounding December 19th has centered on the possibility of kicking Trump out before he steps in, this lawsuit aims to challenge Colorado electors’ obligation to vote for Hillary Clinton.
Still, the lawsuit is important because its results will set a precedent for 28 other states with similar laws, allowing electors in those states who would otherwise have to vote for Trump to vote for Clinton instead if Baca and Nemanich win.
Colorado’s election chief has warned that presidential electors who vote for someone other than Hillary Clinton — the state’s popular vote winner — could face a perjury charge. Judge Elizabeth Starrs initially claimed likewise, but later suggested that the faithless electors instead might just be removed from their seats and face no criminal charges.
You may have noticed in frantically Googling and Wiki-ing and DotGov-ing these past few weeks that there are no long-term jail sentences for “faithless electors.” Nor are there any states in which such electors can be sentenced to death.
What I hope electors everywhere realize on December 19th is that anything they stand to lose– money in fines (which many Americans would gladly help cover), their electoral seat, and even a previously spotless criminal record– is worth what we stand to gain as a nation.
More Possible (Unconfirmed) Faithless Electors
Here is a list of all Electoral College members, with electors who might vote against Trump in spite of what their states have done (as of December 1st) highlighted in yellow. Fifteen electors are not only suspected of wanting to switch teams, but also of encouraging others to join them.
(Remember, 37 is the magic number, so if we are to have a prayer in Hell of pulling this off, there need to be 22 others out there who have either changed their minds too quietly to be noticed, or who are, as yet uncertain, but who will ultimately make the right decision on December 19th.)
Contact Electors Directly
While electors have been scurrying all over the Internet trying desperately to obscure their contact information, there is one surefire way you can reach them, provided you’re willing to stop at the post office early tomorrow morning and pay for expedited shipping: good ol’ fashioned snail mail.
DirectElection.Org enables you to print and send a letter to any and all Electoral College members; but, whether you plan to use email or land mail to contact electors, I strongly recommend you write your own message. Use your own words, your own voice.
Not only does this empower you as an individual more than parroting what someone else said does, but it also lends legitimacy– particularly via email. Some electors have already claimed that they believe recent emails to be spamlike coordinated attacks rather than the heartfelt concerns of real, individual citizens.
Direct Election also has address labels for 284 electors ready to be downloaded and printed, in both Word and PDF formats.
Here is where you can send a single email to all electors at once.
This article provides the most comprehensive list of elector email addresses I’ve encountered so far (but I cannot vouch for whether or not each and every address given is still active).
Below is a list of email addresses I have found and used for various electors. Addresses from which my email bounced back or from which I received any sort of error message are identified in red. I will be updating this list between tonight and tomorrow.
Perry Hooper: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mary Sue McClurkin: email@example.com
Sean Parnell (has been identified as someone who may reject Trump!): firstname.lastname@example.org
Jacqueline Tupou (has been identified as someone who may reject Trump!): email@example.com
Bruce Ash (has been identified as someone who may reject Trump!): BAsh1@PaulAshMgt.com
Alberto Gutier: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jane Pierpoint Lynch (has been identified as someone who may reject Trump!): email@example.com
Jonathan Barnett (has been identified as someone who may reject Trump!): firstname.lastname@example.org
Ethan Manning (has been identified as someone who may reject Trump!): email@example.com
Stephanie Beckley: firstname.lastname@example.org (Automated reply.)
Jeff Cardwell: email@example.com
Kelly Mitchell: via this link (Michigan GOP Outreach.Com)
Judy Rapanos: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jim Rhoades: BIKER50JIM@yahoo.com
Bob Asher: email@example.com
Mary Barket: via this link (RepublicanWomen.Net)
Robert Bozzuto: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ted Christian: email@example.com
Joyce Haas: firstname.lastname@example.org
Alex Kim: email@example.com
Margie Forster: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ann Urling: email@example.com
Bill Cole: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ron Foster: email@example.com
Patrick Morrisey: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mac Warner: email@example.com