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Harvard professor advising electors behind scenes says 20-plus Republicans may vote against Trump

A Harvard Law School professor advising electors behind the scenes said Tuesday that at least 20 Republicans are considering casting their votes for someone other than Donald Trump at the Electoral College.

Professor Lawrence Lessig said there are three groups consulting with electors on their legal options, with the aim of convincing 37 Republicans to withhold their votes for Mr. Trump and thus throw the decision to the GOP-controlled House.

“What we believe surveying the three groups that I’m aware of that are advising and supporting Republican electors is that there’s at least 20 right now,” he told MSNBC.

The president-elect won 306 electoral votes to 232 for Democrat Hillary Clinton. An exodus of 37 electors would put Mr. Trump at 269 electoral votes, one shy of the 270 needed to make his win official.

“Our goal is to let the electors exercise their judgment, and what we believe is at least 37 electors will make the judgment not to support Donald Trump,” Mr. Lessig said. “And if that happens, then of course it goes to the House, and the House has to pick among the top three candidates.”

The current number may be higher than 20. “Some tell me that the number is higher than that, it should be more like 30, but I feel confident saying there’s at least 20,” Mr. Lessig.

That doesn’t mean that all 20 will actually vote against Mr. Trump at Monday’s vote of the Electoral College in the 50 states. Only one Republican, Chris Suprun of Texas, has announced publicly that he will not support the GOP president-elect.

“Now of course, if they don’t get to 37, I doubt any of them beyond the one Chris Suprun, who’s actually come out in public, is going to vote against Donald Trump,” Mr. Lessig said. “But if the number gets to 40, or around 40, then I think you’re going to see a very interesting dynamic as they see that there’s a reason to exercise their vote of conscience which I think they’re all struggling with right now.”

The Electoral College vote, normally a pro forma ceremony, has drawn a surge of interest this year in the wake of several electors saying they may cast their ballots for someone other than the candidate to whom they are bound.

Left-wing groups such as the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Americans Take Action and Democracy Spring are organizing anti-Trump protests Monday to coincide with the Electoral College vote at the 50 state capitols.

Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia bind their electors to the popular vote, but Mr. Lessig said Mr. Trump’s victory gives them a “moral reason” to deviate from the will of the voters.

“[T]hey have a moral or ethical obligation once they take the pledge, and they must vote that way unless there’s a moral reason not to vote that way, and the disqualification or failure of a candidate not to live up to the qualifications would be one such reason, and that’s exactly the issue that’s raised by this election,” Mr. Lessig said. “The Electoral College was made for this election precisely.”

In Colorado, a judge said Tuesday that the Secretary of State may replace any electors who refuse to vote for Mrs. Clinton at Monday’s convening of the Electoral College in Denver. She won the state’s nine electoral votes in the Nov. 8 election.

Source: www.washingtontimes.com stories: Politics

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