The Electoral College meets on December 19 to vote for President. Due to both Hillary and Al Gore having won the popular vote, there is continued questioning on the value of the Electoral College, and a call to reevaluate whether it is just a legacy tradition that should be reviewed and replaced. Even the most optimistic of folks think an overturn vote by the Electoral College is unlikely, but Bloomberg News has a great article that gives you a sense of the numbers and how, although considered a Hail Mary long-shot by many, is not an impossible task.
Quick Fact: It would only take 37 electors to change their minds to have the election go in a different direction.
The Electoral College is one of those big issues that seems out of the control of the average citizen or Little Hinger. But there are small acts every citizen can take to get a better sense of what may happen, what could happen, and what they may want to happen in future elections. Here are a few suggestions of things you can do this weekend before the final vote.
Electoral Action 1: Adopt, use and retweet the new hashtag #HamiltonElectors.
One website —HamiltonElectors.com — has been created by citizens and Electors who believe in the Electoral College, and because they do are asking Electors to vote against the current expected 45th next president. Named after Alexander Hamilton, they note that “the founding fathers intended for the Electoral College to serve as fail safe mechanism” against an unqualified candidate assuming the highest office of the land. They feel this is one of the those times.
Electoral Action 2: Read up on the current Electors and Electoral College.
At least one Republican Elector from Texas has already gone on record that he will not vote for the current President- Elect. Christopher Suprun, an ex 9-11 Firefighter, wrote an Op-Ed in the New York Times about why he will vote for someone else. Read the article here.
When discussing the issue stay bi-partisan. According to a write-up on Wikipedia, “a 2007 poll found that 72% favored replacing the Electoral College with a direct election, including 78% of Democrats, 60% of Republicans, and 73% of independent voters.”
Electoral Action 3: Use careful language.
Electors who don’t vote for the expected candidate have been called “Faithless” electors. It sounds negative and words can sway public opinion. Several web articles have already started to discredit Suprun continuing the name-calling so prevalent in the last election. It’s one reason the Hamilton Electors have renamed themselves and a Change.org petition calls elector swho may change their votes “Conscientious Electors.” Suprun, himself, notes that the term “Faithless” is ironic because he considers himself a person of strong Faith, and because of that Faith is voting his conscience.
Electoral Action 4: Find Out Where Your State Stands on the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.
The Constitution provides for states to decide for themselves how they cast their Electoral Votes. It’s the reason some states have winner take all rules and others don’t. Several states started a compact in 2006 to cast all their electoral votes to whomever wins the popular vote and, once enough states enter the compact, popular votes will determine the actual winner of presidential elections. The compact has two-thirds of the states it needs to make the effort valid, but no new states have joined since 2014. The debacle of the 2016 election could reinvigorate this effort. Find out more about the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact and if your state has supported it here.
Electoral Hinge Action 5: Check actions citizens can take at Electoralcollegepetition.org.
A Change.org petition to request the Senate to review the Electoral College and citizens to voice their support for the popular vote quickly became the largest petitions ever started with the group. The petition originator, Daniel Brezenoff, soon thereafter quit his job and has dedicated himself to this effort full time. He’s now organized marches on state capitols on Dec. 9 and has templated letters and other actions to make it easy for people to support the cause. One action was to ask James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, to personally brief the Electors on their constitutional duties as well as latest intelligence on Russian potentially backed hacking of the elections. At least 10 electors have asked for just such a briefing themselves from Clapper.
In many parts of the country it’s likely to be a cold, snowy, rainy weekend. Use the time to research, retweet, reevaluate the issue and determine where you stand and what you can do. Turns out there are things ordinary citizens can do from petitions — which do effect change — to letters and just retweets with trending hashtags.