The electoral college is poised to pick Trump, despite push to dump him
Donald Trump is on the verge of being officially declared the winner of the 2016 presidential election, as the electoral college meets on Monday to officially seal his victory.
The usually overlooked, constitutionally obligated gatherings of 538 electors in 50 states and the District of Columbia continued throughout the day with no sign of defections among electors poised to vote for Trump.
By mid-afternoon, Trump was poised to top the 270 electoral votes needed to become president. Results will be officially announced on Jan. 6 in a special joint session of Congress.
[How does the electoral college actually vote? An explainer.]
Democrat Hillary Clinton amassed a nearly 3 million-vote lead in the popular vote, but Trump won the state-by-state electoral map — making him president-elect. That political dichotomy has sparked special scrutiny and intense lobbying of electors by Trump’s opponents, including last-minute protests across the country.
On Monday in Austin, more than 100 people braved cold temperatures to rally at the Texas state capitol ahead of an afternoon meeting of electors. In Utah, protesters booed and shouted “shame on you” as the state’s six electors cast votes for Trump in a state capitol conference room in Salt Lake City.
In Pennsylvania, which voted for a Republican president for the first time since 1988, a few hundred shell-shocked Democrats protested at the state capitol in Harrisburg while 20 electors backed Trump. In Florida, a crucial swing state where Trump defeated Clinton by about a percentage point, Trump won all 29 electoral votes Monday afternoon. A few minutes later, Trump clinched all 16 votes in Michigan, another state that flipped to Republicans for the first time since 1988.
On the streets of Washington, two dozen protesters assembled outside Trump’s hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue, singing songs such as “We Shall Overcome.” Some held signs, including one that read, “Resist Putin’s Puppet.” The District’s three electors will meet Monday afternoon at city hall, which is just a block from Trump’s hotel.
In Albany, N.Y., former president Bill Clinton sat in the State Senate chamber as an elector and cast one of the Empire State’s 29 electoral votes for his wife.
“I’ve never cast a vote I was prouder of,” he told reporters after the meeting.
The mostly symbolic calls for an electoral college rejection of Trump have grown following revelations of a CIA assessment of Russian hacking that could have boosted Trump’s campaign and, in the view of many Trump critics, raised doubts about his legitimacy.