An Electoral Proclamation


The Eye of Providence

How will the Electoral College Vote?

  • The Electoral College will convene across the country in 50 state capitols and in the District of Columbia, voting at noon, local time, December 19th.
  • The Electors will mark their ballots. The site ncsl.org says each elector signs his or her ballot, but Electors in some states vote anonymously.
  • Votes will be summarized, certified, and sent to DC for reading before a joint session of Congress on January 6th, 2017. Electors all sign the Certificate of Vote (summary).
  • The Certificates of Vote will be opened in alphabetical order by state (AL, AK,…), and tallied or challenged.

This could be a contentious situation, as Electors in most States are able to use their own judgement in deciding their vote. So, there is hope the Electoral College may not vote as projected!

An Electoral Proclamation

Whereas, Hillary Clinton has received 2.8 million more votes nationally than Donald Trump, and
Whereas, in the Swing States the margin was very thin:

  • We Hope that half of the Electors in those Swing States will cast their vote for Hillary Clinton.
  • We Hope that those Electors could be joined by one or more Red State Electors.
  • We Hope that all Electors will vote conscientiously, and Do the Right Thing.

Why should they do this? Alexander Hamilton wrote in Federalist Papers No. 68, in part, The process of election affords a moral certainty, that the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications. In other words, the Electoral College can serve a fail-safe, a relief valve, or fuse in the election process. So, whereas the popular vote in a given state advises the electors, each Elector must individually vote their conscience on who best to lead the country. This whole business of Electors being pledged to their party's candidate, and winner-take-all, is NOT in the US Constitution. That was rigging added by political parties over the years in each state.

PLEASE NOTE: [Statements in Gray] need attention. Help me if you can.


Electoral Arithmetic

Here is the current Electoral projection:

   232 Clinton
   306 Trump

This projection is based on FIVE Swing States going for Trump, winner-take-all.

  • The difference between 306 and 232 is 74.
  • Half of 74 is 37
  • Changing 37 votes would result in a 269-269 tie. (306-37 and 232+37)

Therefore, 38 votes cast differently from the projected winner-take-all, party-line vote, would change the result, giving Clinton an Electoral Victory. (232 + 38 = 270) Each -1 for Trump could +1 for Clinton.

The votes could come from any state, not just the states where Clinton's loss was slim. Electors can act individually, anywhere in the country, so there is no need to convince ALL the electors in any Red state to vote for HRC - only 38 individual electors (out of ~300) who may be 'expected' to vote the party line in their state. That's around 1 in 8 Electors.


What might be going through an Elector's Mind?

MAGA — Most Red State Electors intend to vote for Trump, no matter what. Make America Great Again.

The Electoral College Petition — This petition calls on Conscientious Electors to protect the Constitution from Donald Trump, and to support the national popular vote winner. I support this approach. [ECP website]

38+ Rogue Electors reject Trump somehow, kicking the decision to congress — Let 50 Congressional state delegations deliberate in a Contingent Election. This way, individual Electors won't determine an outcome, based on winner take all. This is the most likely outcome other than straight party-line votes.

The Hamilton Electors — Some Blue State Electors are trying to co-ordinate with Red State electors to:

  • A) Advance a moderate alternate (GOP) candidate, requiring 270 Trump defectors before 12/19/16.
  • B) Convince atleast 38 Red State electors to withhold their vote for Trump. Possible. This would throw the decision into a Contingent Election, unless 38 (others) voted for Clinton. See Contingent Election.
  • C) There seems to be no option C for the Hamilton Electors, but the obvious possibility is for 38+ Red State Electors (from any states) to cast votes for Clinton instead of Trump. See Clinton below.

Arguments against: The Hamilton Electors would have to collude to do this. They would be criticized for such collusion. (Perhaps the national GOP could secretly play this role? Actually, they claim to be riding herd on the Electors to prevent such a surprise.) It's not clear, technically, that all such sympathetic Red/Blue State Electors would be able to write in a such a candidate, due to balloting in their states. [Hamilton Electors]

Faithful Electors Elect Trump, hoping congress will impeach — Some Red State Electors might think they should just Vote Trump in, then allow Congress to impeach at some point in the future. Pence would then become President, and Ryan VP — not a bad outcome. No organized movement. [?]

38+ Conscientious Electors help Elect Clinton, assuming Congress will impedes — Some Red State Electors might think it would be more effective for (a few of) them to help vote Hillary Clinton into the Oval Office, and then the Republican-dominated congress can block whatever she tries to do, as they did with Obama. Besides, with Clinton having 2.8 million votes more than Trump, it would not seem fair for electors to vote for a Republican non-candidate as an alternate to Trump. This thinking is consistent with the Electoral College Petition approach.

Blue should stay on Blue — Hopefully, all Blue State Electors will vote Blue. There are probably no Sanders loyalist electors among long time Blue electors. Any such Blue-to-Red defector would cancel out a Red-to-Blue defector. The Hamilton Elector scenario involves Blue electors voting Red! I would rather see them only recruit faithless Red electors, but their goal is mainly to keep Trump out of office. It's a very odd strategy with zero assured payoff, game theory wise.

The Logical Conclusion — Because of the uncertainties in the above alternative actions, each Elector, Red, Blue, or Purple, can logically conclude in his or her mind, that the rational thing to do for the Country is to cast their vote for Clinton, if they want to keep Trump out of the Whitehouse.

Vice President — Each Elector must also select a Vice President: Pence or Kaine. They might first think Pence would be a gesture of compromise, but historically that was the mistake made that led to the 12th Amendment — having put two opposites in power was a disaster. Further, an Elector might worry that electing Clinton/Pence would put Clinton in the gunsights for a Second Amendment solution, so that Pence would become President. To avoid that horrible scenario, electors might justify voting Clinton/Kaine. Who knows?

The following sections further frame possible Elector mindsets.


Activity between now and when the Electors vote

Dec. 13, 2016 was the Deadline for Resolving Election Disputes. All state recounts and court contests over presidential election results must be completed.

Government Ethics Office: Trump must [DIVEST...]

Electors considering flipping: Obviously, whether an elector ultimately votes his or her conscience will depend in part upon whether there are enough doing the same. We now believe there are more than half the number needed to change the result seriously considering making that vote [Lessig said], 12/13/16.


The Electoral College will Meet in State Capitols on December 19, 2016

Prior to November 8th, each state had multiple sets of Electors nominated, waiting to see which party wins the election in the state. The electors are nominated by GOP, DEM, Green, Libertarian, et. al, parties using their own methods. Only one of the sets of Electors in each state gets to vote in the College. (This is not in the COTUS.)

When the Electors vote at the state level Dec 19th, they are are given some kind of ballot. This varies from state to state.

  • They must choose one [or perhaps none].
  • They may write a name for President and a name Vice President.
  • They may be limited to writing in a only names of actual candidates on state ballot.
  • They may be bound (pledged), un-pledged, faithless, etc (regarding political parties)
  • Constitutionally, all 538 are independent electors.

Electors aren't bound to their party's candidate in 30 states. In 15 states, they are bound, w/o penalty. In 5 states, they are bound under minor penalties that have never been levied, and would be found unconstitutional if challenged.

From the Wikipedia article 'Faithless elector': After an elector has voted, their vote can be changed only in states such as Michigan and Minnesota, which invalidate votes other than those pledged. In the twenty-nine states with laws against faithless electors, a faithless elector may only be punished after they vote. [LINK]

We need a Matrix showing which states have elector ballots with either a blank line, or with a list of the candidates who where on that state's ballot, and so on. Do you suppose that any state prepares a GOP-only elector ballot for GOP electors?? Also, any peculiar rules that may apply in a given state, like replacing electors who 'mis-vote'. (Some of this sounds like Soviet shenanigans!) Please send matrix elements to parker75 at gmail dot com.

An elector might have four choices: Trump, Clinton, withhold, or write in a name. The next section considers possible outcomes, which may play into an elector's voting considerations.

The ballots are evidently counted, certified, and sent to DC to be added to the grand total. The Certificate of Vote for most states doesn't appear to allow for dissenting votes, but it is the State's responsibility to properly summarize all votes made.

Anyway, The EC may or may not determine a winner on 12/19/2016! Will Trump get fewer than 270? Will Clinton pick up 38?

Sidebar: Some claim that if an Elector doesn't vote the party line, s/he can be yanked out and replaced, but this seems to be hearsay. Is voting done by secret ballot or not!? If a few 'defective' votes show up when they are recorded, there is no way, or time, to replace that vote. Any sort of administrative rule claiming power or precedence over an Elector would be found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.


Activity between the Electoral College Vote and Certs are Read in Congress

Probably the Electoral College vote totals in each state will become public sometime between Dec 19th and Jan 6th. Some members of the Electoral College may at that time be (directly or indirectly) revealed to be faithless electors—i.e., members who are not voting for the candidate to whom they are pledged.

The votes have always been party line, so the fact that they are ceremoniously sealed and sent to Washington CDC is an artifact from bygone days — before Telegraph and Telephone, even. Internet and TV will make all 50 states' votes public info by the end of the day. I don't see that happening any other way, the vote tallies will be leaked, if not shared live.

State party leaders, the RNC sources said, are in frequent communication with electors through phone calls and letters. They have identified multiple points of contact for the GOP electors and also monitor their social media, all to guard against the prospect of electors voting for someone other than Trump. From POLITICO, Kyle Cheney 12/13/16: [LINK]

Trump has threatened Electors with Political Reprisal if the vote against him.

There is an effort to get Intelligence briefs on Russia's involvement in our election released to Electors before Dec 19th.

If there are faithless electors it will set off a firestorm of activity and positioning ahead of January 6th.


The Elector's Certificates of Vote will be read in Congress, on January 6, 2017

The Electoral College votes will be counted in congress, on January 6, 2017. The results of the vote are read in alphabetical order (starting with Alabama). Votes can be challenged during the reading. A challenge occurs whenever one representative plus one senator objects in writing. When this occurs all of the members of both houses adjourn to their respective chambers to deliberate. The discussion must be limited to two hours and no congressperson can speak for more than 5 minutes. These deliberations may be in closed session or even off the record. It is not clear if each objection results in a new round of deliberations or whether several objections can be discussed in a single session.

As the results are read the assembled Congress has the option to reject a state's entire vote. It is not clear whether congress can simply reject an individual faithless vote. Would the congress want to create a new crisis by rejecting states that don't support the official vote? The state is not voting as a whole, it is the electors from the state who are voting. Would the congress reject all such 'abnormal' votes, reject the entire state, or work out some other apportioning?

If, after all Electoral College votes are counted, and neither Clinton nor Trump has a majority, it is not clear what congress would do. If Congress is deadlocked over one of the objections in a state with faithless electors, then the governor of that state gets to weigh in — but that's about 3 steps removed from a smoother process. Refer to 12th Amendment to the COTUS for details.

If for whatever reason, no winner is selected by the Electoral College, then all bets are off and a Contingent Election is held.

HERE IS THE LATEST, as of January 5: At Least 50 Trump Electors Were Illegitimately Seated as Electoral College Members, More evidence surfaces as calls mount to challenge congressional ratification of Electoral College vote. [LINK]


The Possibility of a Contingent Election

State contingents (US Representatives) would huddle to decide their en block vote. This is good, because the onus does not fall on any one House Representative. The communication in the huddles is protected by the Constitution. That is, Representatives might be spared the Wrath of Trump Loyalists, because each could claim some sort of plausible deniability.

26 votes would be needed to win. There are 20 Bluish states, 5 red Swing states (nearly tied, counting Michigan here), and Maine (which is split). This could result in 26 States voting Clinton. (Unlikely detail: The 12th Amendment sets a quorum of 2/3 of the states for such a vote, or 34. I think the majority would still be 26, not a majority of those present.)

The District of Columbia does not receive a vote in a Contingent Election, nor any of the US Territories in a contingent election.

Online, people claim that if the election falls to the GOP controlled House, Trump will win. The fallacy here is that the vote will be a 50-state vote, not the 435 US Representatives. Fifty state delegations will each have to arrive at one vote for their state. There may be enough #NeverTrump Republicans in the swing states or the Redish states to throw a Contingent Election to Clinton. Unknown.


Other Factors or issues

The Emolument Clause — Trump's refusal to divest his business interests may lead to him being disqualified by the U.S. Office of Government Ethics. I think Electors would be informed that they may not vote for him, or if they do vote, their vote would be invalid. (Who knows how this would be handled before December 19th!?) Reference: OGE Tweets @RealDonaldTrump [NPR].

TYRANNY OF THE MAJORITY — The Whole point of the EC isn't to prevent the tyranny of the majority. According to Alexander Hamilton, the EC also to protects against the rise of a demagogue. Ironically, in this case, a demagogue is in line to win the Electoral College, but losing the popular vote, bigly. As such, it is within the charge of the Electors to validate the popular vote over the projected party-line vote of Electoral College.

The EC is comprised of 435 electors (one for each representative assigned by census, ie population) plus 100 electors (2 senators per state) plus 3 more electors for Washington DC (which has neither a rep or senator) — that is 538, the total number of electors. It's like adding apples and oranges.

538 is a meaningless number, and no one has ever validated this formula. Because of these funky numbers, a candidate can win the EC by winning the majority of the popular votes 11 states, while not winning a single vote in the remaining 39 states. And conversely, lose by winning the opposite set of votes.

Swing States — The EC supposedly protects the little states from the big states ('big' meaning population). The probable outcome of many states is well known, while other critical states can go either way. These are the dozen or so 'Swing States'. Who will protect us from the precarious Swing States? Flip a Coin, and recount just to be sure.

Recounts — The Electoral College Petition has naught to do with recounts, but should a recount show a different winner in a state, that would change the electoral college makeup.

Fact Checking — I would like to add a fact-check section regarding claims made about the purpose of the Electoral College, processes, etc. Some are addressed in sections above and on other sites, so I may stop here.


What about backlash from Trump supporters and 'Loyalists'?

Should we worry about uprisings? Should we worry about violence towards non-whites. Civil War? Who would the people with guns shoot? They could blame electors, but the Electors all vote on the same day, and it would be over — so shooting them would change nothing. This will unfold daily till Dec 19th, giving time for people to get angry, but hopefully not violent. People will be in their homes for the Holidays. There would be a cooling off period where the country can be assured that the Electoral College justifiably acted for 'We The People'.

Trump supporters have now seen him back away from his strident campaign promises: Lock Her Up; Build a Wall; Repeal Obamacare; Drain the Swamp.

The Election was rigged — a prophecy come true? People say the election is over, that the Electoral College gave it to Trump. But the EC hasn't voted yet! If the EC votes for Clinton, those people may cry foul and say that the rules were changed. Not so, Electors may vote freely. Binding of electors in some states is 'rigging' introduced by political parties well after the Framers of the constitution were gone from the scene. Is the will of the people is being thwarted? What about the 2+ million popular vote margin?

What about GOP congresspersons?

In their minds, a President Trump would leave them constantly torn between the normal expectation of loyalty to a president (of their party) and their hatred of him, the blowhard who hijacked their party's nomination, the faux Republican and faux conservative who threw the party into turmoil between the GOP Convention and the General Election. Many have publicly acquiesced to a Trump Presidency, eg. Paul Ryan. What choice is there? They will either succeed, or go down together.

Survey on or about December 12, showed that a high precentage of House and Senate GoP members are literally afraid to stand up the Trump.

Can Clinton get up to speed before January 20?

Clinton most likely had many appointments in mind or even vetted. Clinton could announce that cabinet members and appointees remain in their positions until her appointees can take their place. She probably would make a number of higher level appointments effective immediately. There is no question that she could step into the job on January 20, 2017.

Putin might launch an attack somewhere in the world as a show of power.

Technically, a president isn't elected until the Electoral Votes are counted. It seems that we have gotten used to starting Transitioning the day after the general election. Technically, nothing changes till January 6th-20th. [Correct?]

The Founding Fathers are Watching!

It would be altogether fitting and proper for the Electors in the swing states to revolt and make a Historic Decision. What Would The Founding Fathers Do? (WWTFFD)

Ironically, such an act of Conscientious Electors might breathe new life into the Electoral College! There a never been a moment in U.S. history quite like this.

Is the Eye of Providence upon us?


What can You Do?

Any Seven of these things:
  1. Add your name to 4.5 million other signatures on the Change.Org petition
  2. Visit the Electoral College Petition website for more information.
  3. Volunteer with the above!?
  4. Follow @ECPetition on Twitter, or
    Like ElectoralCollegePetition on Facebook.
  5. Listen to chief petitioner Daniel Brezenoff: Convincing electoral college to cast votes for Clinton
  6. Take the Electoral College Quiz!
  7. Please share any/all this with your network, liberal or conservative.
  8. Attend the Demonstration at your State Capital at 8AM on December19.us

FYI, there are 149 electors in states delegated to Trump who can vote any way they want without penalty. They are: Arizona (11), Arkansas (6), Georgia (16), Idaho (4), Indiana (11), Kansas (6), Kentucky (8), Louisiana (8), Missouri (10), North Dakota (3), Pennsylvania (20), South Dakota (3), Texas (38), West Virginia (5). The Electoral College Petition people are ramping up to lobby the Republican Party chairs in the two weeks before the college meets. Please do not harass or contact any Electors unless you know them on a first name basis.

A Personal Note

If I were building a pyramid (not a wall), and I had too much mortar in one area, I would scoop it up and use it for another area to make a more perfect pyramid. The apex of the American pyramid is not the President. The President is just some of the high level mortar. The Apex is America.

Electoral Proclamation Composed in Oregon by John E. Miller, parker75 at gmail.com
[dialectrix.com]


(Click on the image above to play with this force-directed graph toy)


Glossary

Faithless Elector - (old term) An elector that does not vote for their party's candidate.

Moral Elector - (2016) Any elector who places their conscience above party allegiance.

Conscientious Elector - (2016) Another name for Faithless or Moral elector.

Rogue Elector - (2016) Another name for Faithless or Moral elector.

Hamilton Elector - (2016) A Blue State Elector who would offer to Not vote for Clinton, but vote for an as-yet-unidentified Republican for president, as a way of persuading Red state electors not to vote Trump, but for a surrogate candidate. This is nuts, because they would have to gather 270 votes for the surrogate, and no willing surrogate has emerged.

Unpledged Elector - An elector in a state that doesn't not require a pledge or binding.

Swing State, aka Battleground State - Most states are predictably red or blue, not solid red or solid blue, but they historically vote either red or blue. Swing States are actually more purple, and can go either way. That's why they are called Battleground States, where the candidates have to battle it out to win votes.

Winner-Take-All is the notion that a candidate gets all of the Electoral Votes for a State no matter how slim the margin. This technically disenfranchises many voters in each state. Normally, the EV and Pop vote yield the same results. Winner-Take-All is not in the US Constitution, but rather was added by later-formed political parties at the state level. (Rigging!)


References

  • [ARCHIVES.GOV] shows the Electoral College members from each State, and the number of popular votes cast for those Electors in 2012. These results were taken from each state's Certificate of Vote.
  • Wikipedia on Electoral College [LINK]
  • Wikipedia on Faithless Elector [LINK]
  • Wikipedia on Unpledged Elector [LINK]
  • Wikipedia on Contingent Election [LINK]
  • Wikipedia on Eye of Providence [LINK]
  • Electoral Vote numbers, summary, and editorials [LINK]

  • Electoral College Home Page [LINK]
  • Federal Register FAQ on Electoral College [LINK]
  • The 2016 Presidential Election, contains key dates, instructions to Governors. [LINK]
  • Example: Oregon Electors Pledges from the current set of 7 Oregon Electors. Frank Dixon (a real person) and I served on the Multnomah County Citizen Involvement Committee in ~1988. Hi Frank!
  • @ElectoralCollge on Twitter (limited by early Twitter naming rules [LINK]
  • Alexander Hamilton's Federalist No. 68 explains the Electoral College. [LINK]
  • Alexis de Tocqueville's De la Démocratie en Amerique (Democracy in America) is cited sometimes for earlier insights about Americans, and so on. I didn't find anything specifically applicable. Feedback welcome. See Election of the President in the middle of Chapter VIII: The Federal Constitution — Part I. Here is the Table of Contents for all the volumes: [TOC]

Articles

Many articles about the Electoral College have appeared in the Press since November 9th. Too many to list!
  • This article by Lawrence Lessig is direct and authoritative: The Constitution lets the electoral college choose the winner. They should choose Clinton. One objection to Lessig's article could be that the Electors are said to be advised by the popular vote. But which popular vote - the vote of their State or of the nation, or both? This is the constitutional question. There are 10,000+ comments on it. [LINK]
  • 'A recipe for scandal': Trump conflicts of interest point to constitutional crisis. Experts say president-elect does not understand the law and must sell businesses to avoid electoral college disaster. He seems loath to do so. [LINK]
  • War Is Peace. Freedom Is Slavery. Trump Won In A Landslide. By Nate Silver on [538]
  • The Equal Protection argument against winner take all in the Electoral College, by (Lawrence) Lessig, on [Medium]
  • The Electoral College plan to stop Trump explained, Who are the Hamilton Electors? What do they want? Could they succeed? [Colorado Independent]. I don't support this approach. May as well just get
A Null Link. parked here. [NO LINK]