Minnesota Electoral College Voting Results in One Elector’s Removal as “Faithless Elector”
St. Paul, Minnesota The 50 States’ 538 Electoral College members meet today to cast their votes for President of the United States. On Nov. 8, 2016, Republican Donald J. Trump won 306 electoral college votes to Democrat Hillary Clinton’s 232 votes. The process for selecting electors varies from state to state, as does the process for the way in which the electors cast their ballots. However, in accordance with the 12th Amendment, each elector gets two votes: one for president and one for vice president. According to federal law, each elector must sign six certificates: two go to their state’s secretary of state, two go to the National Archives, one goes to a local judge and one gets mailed to the president of the Senate – Joe Biden.
In Minnesota, the state’s ten Electoral College members met at noon today (Dec. 19) in Minnesota Senate Building room 1200. Secretary of State Steve Simon oversaw the event. Governor Mark Dayton was supposed to be there as well, but, according to The Uptake, “woke up ill this morning and is unable to attend.”
The ten Minnesota electors are legally bound to vote for Hillary Clinton, who won Minnesota by about 44,000 votes on Nov. 8. In an interview with MPRNews, democratic elector, Betsy O’Berry explained how she become an elector, saying that it is usually “party stalwarts” who are chosen for the job. O’Berry went on to say “It really is a popularity contest to be honest with you. My pitch was simply that it would be a huge honor and great thank you for work that I’ve done.”
The Minnesota Electoral College Electors are: CD1 – Fred Knudson, CD2 – Roger Gehrke, CD3 – Marge Hoffa, CD4 – Raymond Hess, CD5 – Muhammed Abdurrahman, CD6 – Betsy O’Berry, CD7 – Mike Wammer, CD 8 – Mary Murphy, State at Large – Jules Goldstein, State at Large – Sherrie Pugh.
All the electors, except one, cast votes for Minnesota’s popular vote winners Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine. Muhammed Abdurrahman of CD6 did not vote for Clinton or Kaine and was declared a “Faithless Elector” by Steve Simon. Minnesota law binds electoral college electors to voting for the winner of the state’s popular vote; a “Faithless Elector” is an elector who chooses to not vote for the popular vote winner. The penalty for Faithless Electors is to be removed from the Electoral College and replaced by an alternate elector. Jill Garcia, the CD5 alternate, replaced Abdurrahman and voted for Hillary Clinton.
The proceedings were interrupted by protesters, who seemed to be pushing for the abolishment of the Electoral College. Each time an elector was called to present his/her ballot to Simon, calls of “Please do not vote” and “You can make history” came from the crowd. When Abdurrahman chose to be a Faithless Elector, some of the crowd erupted in cheers and applause.
Even though Trump won the majority of Electoral College votes, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by nearly 2.5 million votes, causing Clinton supporters to cry foul over the “unfairness” of the electoral college system. As Alpha News reported over the weekend, some are calling for changing America’s Electoral College system to a straight popular vote system to elect the President of the United States.
There has also been reports of electoral college electors being threatened against voting for Trump, even if Trump won the state. Fox News reported an incident of an Arizona elector being followed and harassed by people following him home and attempting to intimidate him:
— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) December 19, 2016
NBC News reported, “Activists, meanwhile, have taken up the cause. A petition aimed at “conscientious electors” has garnered nearly 5 million signatures. The West Wing’s fictitious president, Martin Sheen, and a slew of actors released a YouTube appeal pleading with electors to give the election to Clinton, or anyone other than Trump.”
(For more information about the Electoral College, check out the MPR News article “Five Things to Know About the Electoral College.”)
Updated 12/19/16 1:44pm