US Electoral College prepares to officially select Trump

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The Electoral College, a peculiarity of the US democratic system, will meet on Monday to vote on the next president and vice president of the United States.

Some 538 electors will gather in each of the 50 states’ capitals along with the District of Columbia to cast their ballots to have the final say on who holds the US’ highest office.

The final result of the vote may possibly not be known on Monday, as all states are given several days to report their tallies. On January 6, Congress will count the votes from each state and current Vice President Joe Biden will declare the winner.

Republican Donald Trump won a clear majority of electors, garnering 306 to Democratic rival Hillary Clinton’s 232. A majority of 270 is needed to win the election.

Clinton won some 2.6 million more popular votes than Trump in the nationwide tally, renewing the debate over the existence of the Electoral College, which has been used to choose presidents since 1789.

Infografik Electoral College USA Wahl Englisch

Controversy over the College

Following Trump’s surprising electoral win on November 8, Trump critics and Democrats began pinning their hopes on “faithless electors” who would defy the wishes of the majority of voters in their district.

When US voters cast their ballots, they did not directly elect the next successor to the White House, but rather picked electors charged with translating their wishes into reality.

To date, only one Republican elector has come out and publically said he would not vote for Trump. Another elector that DW spoke with resigned rather than casting his Electoral College ballot for the 70-year-old real estate mogul.

Despite online petitions with millions of signatures and calls from celebrities for electors to not select Trump as the US’ 45th president, there is little chance that such a revolt will take place. There is little evidence to suggest that the required 37 Republican electors will abandon Trump.

Trump, himself, previously called the Electoral College “a disaster for a democracy” in a tweet in November 2012 after President Barack Obama was elected.

However, he changed his stance last month after taking the most electoral votes, saying that the College “is actually genius in that it brings all states, including smaller ones into play.”

Despite a deluge of criticism over the years of the Electoral College method, no reform attempt has ever succeeded.

rs/rcĀ (AP, AFP)

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