There’s less than a month to go before the Electoral College meets Dec. 19 to finalize the presidential election results, and still all the votes have yet to be counted and state results still may come under challenge. Further, a campaign is underway to encourage Republican electors to reject the results of the popular vote and vote for someone else.
In the latest twist on the seemingly neverending 2016 election saga, Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein said Tuesday she will seek recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.
“After a divisive and painful presidential race, reported hacks into voter and party databases and individual email accounts were causing many [Americans] to wonder if our election results are reliable," Stein said in the statement. "These concerns need to be investigated before the 2016 presidential election is certified.”
Unofficial election results indicate Republican Donald Trump won 290 electoral votes to 232 for Democrat Hillary Clinton, although Clinton won the popular vote with 64.2 million to 62.2 million for Trump. If the results in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania are reversed, Trump would lose 30 electoral votes, leaving him 10 shy of the 270 needed to secure the presidency. Michigan’s 16 votes have yet to be awarded to either candidate.
“Avengers” director Joss Whedon and actress Debra Messing are among the high-profile backers of a growing “audit the vote” movement, the Hill reported.
Whedon urged his followers on Twitter to demand recounts.
Trump railed during the campaign that if he lost, that would mean the election had been “rigged,” an idea scoffed at by election officials nationwide.
Researchers at the University of Michigan’s Center for Computer Security and Society contacted the Clinton campaign last week, saying they had found evidence the results in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania may have been manipulated or hacked, New York magazine reported.
Electors in a number of states report getting thousands of emails, letters and telephone calls, urging them to switch their votes when the Electoral College’s 538 electors meet in their state capitals. Twenty-eight states require their electors to abide by the popular vote but 22 do not, although party rules do require them to vote for the winning candidate or face fines.
"I fully intend to vote for Donald Trump," Jim Skaggs of Bowling Green, Ky., one of that state's eight electors, told USA Today. Skaggs said he doesn't like Trump but even though he’s not bound by law, he thinks it’s his “duty” to go along with the popular vote in his state.
P. Bret Chiafalo of Everett, Wash., told Politico the campaign amounts to a “hail Mary.” He said they are encouraging GOP electors to vote for another Republican instead of Trump.
So-called faithless electors are uncommon. The last time one turned up was in 2004 when a Minnesota elector voted for John Kerry’s running mate John Edwards instead of the Democratic presidential nominee. And the last time there was more than one faithless elector was 1872 when Horace Greeley died the day after the election.
Nonetheless, as of late Wednesday, more than 4.6 million people have signed a Change.org petition urging Republican electors to jump ship and offering to pay whatever fines are imposed.