Presidential electors arrive in Raleigh for official vote

Despite being inundated with letters and threats to change their votes, the 15 members are excited to cast votes for Republican nominee Donald Trump

Eamon Queeney—The North State Journal
North Carolina members of the Electoral College speak to the media at the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh before rehearsing their vote nearby at the State Capitol

RALEIGH — North Carolina’s 15 members of the Electoral College, and three alternates, gather in Raleigh Sunday evening to have a vote rehearsal at the Old State Capitol building in anticipation of their official vote at noon on Monday.There is one member from each of the Old North State’s 13 congressional districts, as well as two at-large members.Executive Director of the N.C. Republican Party Dallas Woodhouse introduced the group to media preceding their rehearsal, saying, “There is no mystery; there will be 15 votes for Donald Trump.””This is a culmination of a very historic election and a very important constitutional process,” said Woodhouse. “These folks are excellent representatives of our democracy and the way our democracy works and the way our constitutional system works.”The group previously held informal elections for its officer positions, a vote which will be formalized Monday.The elected president of the group, Mark Delk from Buncombe County, described why he is confident in the outcome of tomorrow’s vote.”In North Carolina’s wisdom, we have decided that the electoral college will serve as ministers of the will of the people of North Carolina,” said Delk. “Back in November we had a little vote, and Donald J. Trump was selected by the people of North Carolina, and so it is now our duty as members of the electoral college to certify that result. We are not ‘circuit breakers’, as in some states; We are, in fact, ministers of the will of the people.”Delk explained that prior to 1968, North Carolina had a “circuit breaker” system, but that year a faithless elector voted for George Wallace, leading then-Governor Terry Sanford and the legislature to change the rules.”I believe it’s a very wise thing to serve as ministers of the people’s will,” said Delk.The member with responsibility for taking minutes at Monday’s vote, as well counting the ballots, is Dr. Glenn Pinckney Sr., of Catawba County.”I am indeed honored to be here, especially in this particular capacity serving not only the great State of North Carolina, but our country, as a part of the electoral process,” said Pinckney.The member who will likely get the most press Monday is the group’s nominator for the President of the United States, Donald Webb of High Point. Webb will officially place in nomination the name of the electors’ official vote result.”I’m excited to be part of history and to be part in the very beginning of making America great again,” boasted Webb.In the contentious election cycle of 2016, the electors are in the spotlight like never before. The members described receiving thousands of letters imploring them to change their votes to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, and some electors even received threats and property damage.”I think there needs to be a distinction between each citizen’s right to petition the government for the redress of grievances, and harassment,” said Delk. “When out of the 4,000-5,000 letters that we got, all but about 4 or 5 were just form letters, it’s hard to see that as something other than harassment.”My son had his car vandalized. Other people have received threats, attempts at bribes,” revealed Delk, adding,”…at some point, the right to petition has to be balanced with respect for the outcome.”Members said much of the mail was from New York, California, and even Canada.Dr. Pinckney shared his disappointment in the inundation of mail and threats the members have received.”I received two tubs from the post office of letters asking me to change my vote from Donald Trump to Hillary Clinton,” said Pinckney. “I’ve gotten registered mail, I’ve gotten mail from Canada, not to mention the iMessages and the phone calls. It’s really been disappointing. Why? Because we’ve made a decision.”We all grew up with the idea of majority rules, right? The electoral college, based on the numbers that have so far come to light, has made a decision of 306 electoral votes for Donald Trump,” said Pinckney. “It is disappointing that people have taken these particular positions, and it really shows a lack of understanding of our Democracy.”Woodhouse also announced that the N.C. GOP would be filing a bar complaint against a law firm in Asheville, “because they tried to get our electors to change their vote and said they’re going to represent them [in court], and you can’t encourage someone to break the law.”Despite the pressure, the enthusiastic members looked forward to casting their votes Monday as part of the historic election, even with the potential for protests, as they engage in the electoral process outlined in the United States Constitution.Woodhouse, speaking to the possibility of protesters, offered them some brief guidance.”They can protest, they can do what they want, but let me give them better advice – nominate a better candidate,” exclaimed Woodhouse.