President-elect Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka attend a campaign event in Washington, DC, in October.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
WASHINGTON – The constitutional body officially tasked with choosing the president of the United States secured Donald Trump’s victory on Monday, rebuffing a movement to dislodge its members from their pledges to reflect state popular votes.
Trump earned the requisite 270 votes from the Electoral College to secure him the presidency. Two Republican electors from Texas defected, citing concerns with Trump’s conflicts of interest and Russia’s attempted interference in the election.
Another two Republican electors, from Georgia and Minnesota, tried to abstain from lodging votes. But they were immediately replaced with new electors by the Republican parties of their respective states.
In total, six electors broke with their pledges from both sides of the aisle– Trump secured 304 votes, after expecting 306, while Hillary Rodham Clinton received 228. That means the 2016 electoral college ties for the highest number of defectors in American history with the election of 1808 of James Madison.
But their efforts were insufficient for a group calling itself the Hamilton electors, after American founding father Alexander Hamilton who helped design the Electoral College, which had hoped to convince 37 Republican electors to either abstain or vote for another Republican, which would have sent the election to be chosen by the House of Representatives.
The votes will be counted during a joint session of Congress on January 6. It is highly unlikely the vote will change the outcome of the November 8 election, which gave the White House to Trump after he won a majority of Electoral College votes.
The Electoral College was established in 1787 and is mandated by the US Constitution.
It assigns each state electors equal to its number of representatives and senators in Congress.
When voters go to the polls to cast a ballot for president, they are actually choosing a presidential candidate’s preferred slate of electors for their state.
A candidate must secure 270 votes to win. Trump won 306 electors from 30 states.