Members of Electoral College being harassed by Democrats
There is a campaign coordinated via social media to bombard Electoral College members with emails and phone calls to try and persuade them to change their vote and elect Hillary Clinton president.
Some of the communications have been ugly and threatening, say several electors.
Some state laws call for fines against "faithless electors," while others open them to possible felony charges, although the National Archives says no elector has ever been prosecuted for failing to vote as pledged. In North Carolina, a faithless elector's vote is canceled, and he or she must immediately resign and be replaced.
Layne Bangerter and Melinda Smyser, two of Idaho's four Republican electors, said they have been flooded with emails, telephone calls and Facebook messages from strangers urging them to reconsider their vote.
"It's just not going to work," Bangerter said. "I hope it dies down, but I don't see that happening."
The volume and tone of the messages caught the attention of Idaho's secretary of state, who urged the public to remain civil as electors prepare to cast their ballots on Dec. 19 while meeting in their states.
Republican Party officials in Georgia and Michigan said their electors also have been bombarded with messages, and Iowa reported increased public interest in obtaining contact information for electors.
Michael Banerian, 22, one of Michigan's 16 Republican electors, said he has received death threats from people who do not want him to vote for Trump. But he said he is undeterred.
"It's mostly just a lot of angry people who don't completely understand how the process works," said Banerian, a political science major at Oakland University.
P. Bret Chiafalo, a Democratic elector in Washington state, said he and a small group of other electors from the party are working to contact their Republican counterparts and ask them to vote for any GOP candidate besides Trump, preferably Mitt Romney or John Kasich.
Under the Constitution, the House — currently under Republican control — decides the presidency if no candidate reaches the required electoral vote majority. House members choose from the top three contenders.
This isn't the first time electors have faced pressure to undo the results of Election Day.
Carole Jean Jordan, a GOP elector from Florida in 2000, recalled the "unbelievably ugly" aftermath of the recount battle between George W. Bush and then-vice president Al Gore, a dispute that ended with the U.S. Supreme Court leaving Bush's slim margin intact and handing him the presidency.
The chance that the grass roots campaign to upend the results of the election will succeed are about as close to zero as you can get. But the significance here are the threats and ugliness being perpetrated by Democrats to bully the electors into changing their votes. For a party that went ballistic when Donald Trump mentioned he might not accept the results of the election, the hypocrisy of demanding that the Electoral College nullify the votes of 60 million people who voted for Trump is breathtaking.
The electors will meet December 19 in Washington, D.C. to cast their ballots and officially make Donald Trump the president. But between now and then, Republican electors will have to endure a gauntlet of hate and threats that is being organized by the Democratic party.