NC electors prepare to cast votes for Trump, amid pressure to buck the Nov. 8 results

Christine T. Nguyen—The North State Journal
Martha Jenkins

NEW YORK — The Electoral College is slated to meet Monday, Dec. 19, and is expected to affirm the results of the Nov. 8 presidential election, giving 306 electoral votes to Republican Donald Trump.There has been a Hail Mary effort by some Hillary Clinton supporters in recent weeks to get electors across the country to buck the election results and change their vote to one for Clinton. Led in part by Clinton’s chief of staff, John Podesta, and Christine Pelosi, daughter of minority leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the group says electors should be briefed by intelligence agencies on any Russian efforts to influence the presidential election. So far 10 of the 538 electors have agreed to the briefing. The organization is using another tactic, posting online petitions and form letters for individuals to send to their state electors and organizing protests at every state’s elector site on Monday.”We the People will come together at every state capital across the United States to call on the Electors of the Electoral College to listen to the voice of the people and refuse to cast their ballots for Donald Trump,” said on their website. The group has been recruiting protesters for weeks through their website with plans to demonstrate Monday in front of the N.C. statehouse.They are focused on 14 states where electors can change their vote without penalty. N.C. is not one of those, but nonetheless Martha Jenkins of Raleigh says she has gotten hundreds of emails and form letters, including to her workplace. She says it amounts to harassment. She is among the 15 electors headed to the state capitol in Raleigh on Monday to cast a ballot for Trump on behalf of N.C. voters.”There’s no inkling of a chance that I will vote for anyone else, for a number of reasons.” said Jenkins. “First, it’s the law. … If I were to cast the vote for someone else I would be considered to have automatically resigned.”The state law of N.C. says that an elector that changes their vote would be fined $500 and automatically replaced with another elector who would vote for N.C. voters’ choice. An elector’s changed vote wouldn’t count. Efforts to derail the Electoral College process started in the days after the election, when it became clear that Trump would walk away with much more than the 270 electoral votes he needed, but Clinton would win the popular vote because of her popularity in urban areas.”There is a reason that N.C. did not vote for Hillary Clinton and a reason that I have never supported her for a single second in my entire life,” said Jenkins. “They keep claiming Trump is unfit to be president; she was unfit to be president. Was he my first choice in the Republican primary? No, but through the campaign he’s won me over, and I’m more impressed now than at the Cleveland convention. I like how he is moving forward with his cabinet. … People wanted change and they voted for change.”The last-ditch efforts to overturn Trump’s victory included demands for a recount in three states by Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein. The recounts sealed a win for Trump in Wisconsin and Michigan, and in Pennsylvania a judge rejected Stein’s request. The scuffle around the recount had Stein in locked horns with the president-elect over her motives. Stein privately raised $7.2 million toward a $9.5 million goal to pay legal expenses for the recounts.On Twitter Trump proclaimed Stein’s effort a failure and questioned her motives, tweeting: “Just a Stein scam to raise money!”In the two recounts, the states met the Dec. 13 deadline, clearing the way for electors to cast 306 votes for Trump and 235 for Clinton.Trump — along with Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, the vice president-elect — is set to be inaugurated Jan. 20 as the 45th president of the United States.