Washington: There were many protesters but few faithless electors as Donald Trump won the Electoral College vote ensuring he will become America’s 45th president.
An effort by anti-Trump forces to persuade Republican electors to abandon the president-elect came to practically nothing and the process unfolded largely according to its traditions.
Trump’s polarising victory November 8 and the fact Democrat Hillary Clinton had won the national popular vote had stirred an intense lobbying effort, but to no avail.
Even one of Trump’s fiercest Republican rivals, Ohio Governor John Kasich, said it was time to get behind the president-elect.
“We want unity, we want love,” Kasich said as Ohio’s electors voted to back Trump at a statehouse ceremony. Kasich refused to endorse or even vote for Trump in the election.
With Hawaii still to vote, Trump had 304 votes and Clinton had 224. It takes 270 Electoral College votes to win the presidency. Texas put Trump over the top, despite two Republican electors casting protest votes.
Befitting an election filled with acrimony, thousands of protesters converged on state capitols across the country yesterday, urging Republican electors to abandon their party’s winning candidate.
More than 200 demonstrators braved freezing temperatures at Pennsylvania’s capitol, chanting, “No Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA!” and “No treason, no Trump!”
In Madison, Wisconsin, protesters shouted, cried and sang “Silent Night.” In Augusta, Maine, they banged on drums and held signs that said, “Don’t let Putin Pick Our President,” referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Despite the noise outside state Capitols, inside, the voting went pretty much as planned.
In Nashville, Tennessee, one audience member tried to read out some Scripture before the ballots were cast, but was told he could not speak.
“We certainly appreciate the Scripture,” State Election Coordinator Mark Goins said from the podium. “The answer is no.”
With all Republican states reporting, Trump lost only the two electors in Texas. One voted for Kasich, the Ohio governor; the other voted for former Texas Representative Ron Paul.
Clinton lost four electors in Washington state three voted for former Secretary of State Colin Powell and one voted for Native American tribal leader Faith Spotted Eagle.
Several Democratic electors in other states tried to vote for protest candidates but they either changed their votes to Clinton or were replaced.
The Electoral College has 538 members, with the number allocated to each state based on how many representatives it has in the House plus one for each senator. The District of Columbia gets three, despite the fact that the home to Congress has no vote in Congress.