The US Electoral College vote held on Monday confirmed the November 8 presidential election victory of Republican candidate Donald Trump, despite a strong campaign against him.
Earlier this week, all 538 Electoral College members met in their respective state capitals to cast ballots for the next president. Trump passed the threshold of 270 electoral votes, receiving 304.
On January 6, the US Congress will gather to approve the results of the electors’ vote. The US President-elect will take office on January 20.
Hundreds of protesters took part in rallies, held in particular in Washington and Los Angeles, ahead of the Electoral College vote.
Some activists posted an appeal not to vote for Trump in print media, like the Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, Austin American-Statesman, Salt Lake City Tribune and Tampa Bay Times. They stressed that the inauguration of Trump would be “a serious and continuing threat to the Constitution, national peace and international stability.”
The protesters have also accused Trump of having close ties with the Russian authorities, as well as of being a potential threat to US freedom of the press and freedom of speech. However, they did not call on the electors to vote for Trump’s Democratic Party rival Hillary Clinton.
For 192 years, the electoral vote process has been a mere formality, while many states do not have legislation that requires the electors to honor their votes for the candidates their states have chosen in the US presidential elections. Still, the most important question this year was the ballot of so-called faithless electors, representing a rare break from the tradition of casting an Electoral College ballot in accordance with the outcome of a state’s popular vote.
Such practice has been very rare in modern times, with only 157 faithless electors since the establishment of the Electoral College institute, while the record was set in 1836 when 23 electors supported a different candidate from those chosen by their state.
This year, seven electors decided to vote not for their state’s presidential winner, with four of them from Washington and one from Hawaii, where Clinton secured majority of votes in November, and two from Texas, won by Trump. In general, the political setup did not change much, as Trump was expected to receive 306 votes against Clinton’s 232, whereas the results turned out to be 304 votes for Trump against 227 for Clinton. The faithless electors cast their ballots, in particular, for former Republican congressman Ron Paul, Ohio Governor John Kasich, former Republican Secretary of State Colin Powell and Senator Bernie Sanders.
‘Victory of Democracy’
The US President-elect himself called the vote result “a victory of democracy.” “Today marks a historic electoral landslide victory in our nation’s democracy,” he said in a statement. Trump emphasized he was ready to work hard to unite the country and “make it great again.”
We did it! Thank you to all of my great supporters, we just officially won the election (despite all of the distorted and inaccurate media).
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 19, 2016
Trump thanked “millions of hard working men and women” who supported him, adding that he would like to become “the President of all Americans.”