Published November 15, 2016
Voters upset that Republican Donald Trump had been elected president -- or think that the presidency was unfairly taken from Democratic rival Hillary Clinton -- are scrambling for ways to change the results.
Their major focus is trying to get members of the U.S. Electoral College to change their vote, arguing that Clinton should be the next president because 60.47 Americans voted for her, compared to 60 million for Trump.
The college is part of the Constitution and is composed of 538 members, with each state and the District of Columbia having one member, or electorate, for every senator or House lawmaker.
Trump won 290 of the so-called electoral votes, in the race to get a minimum 270.
However, members don’t officially cast their ballots until December 19, which has Trump opponents making long-shot efforts to reverse the outcome, including petition drives to get the electorates to switch their votes.
The largest effort is through the website Change.org, which as of Saturday has about 3 million signatures, getting closer to its goal of 4.5 million.
Petition organizers argue on the site that some states don’t require their electorates to vote for the presidential nominee who had the most votes in their state.
And for electorates in states that by law require them to ballot for the nominee who won the most votes, “their vote would still be counted, they would simply pay a small fine,” the organizers write. “We can be sure Clinton supporters will be glad to pay!”
One online petition signer wrote on the site via Twitter: “It’s our chance of getting Trump out of the whitehouse.”
Another grassroots petition drive is being launched by Faithlessnow.com, as reported by Yahoo News.
Organizers in that drive are targeting roughly 160 Republican electorates in the 15 states that Trump won and don’t have laws bounding the electorates to the winner: Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and West Virginia.
The most recent presidential election in which a nominee won the popular vote but lost the election through the Electoral College vote was 2000, when Democrat Al Gore lost to Republican George W. Bush following a days-long recount of votes in Florida and other states.
Clinton and Trump at the time purportedlycalled for an end to the entire Electoral College system. And renewed calls emerged after Election Day 2016, on Tuesday, in large part because voters think the system is no longer needed to safeguard the country from a dangerous president.
A Baltimore Sun editorial this weekend called the college a “convoluted system” and “the product of an 18th century compromise forged over issues that no longer apply and resting on assumptions about the wisdom of the average person we no longer hold.”
“It is not worked the way it was intended almost from the very beginning,” continued the editorial, which also suggests that U.S. states follow Maryland’s lead by essentially joining a movement that could side-step needing a constitutional amendment to change the system.