Minnesota's electors vote for Clinton, after one goes rogue
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota's 10 presidential electors cast ballots Monday for Democrat Hillary Clinton with mixed emotions: They were honored to be among the 538 Americans who voted in the Electoral College that actually selects the next president, bu...
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota’s 10 presidential electors cast ballots Monday for Democrat Hillary Clinton with mixed emotions: They were honored to be among the 538 Americans who voted in the Electoral College that actually selects the next president, but they regretted Donald Trump was elected despite losing the national popular vote.
It takes 270 electoral votes to win the presidency, and Trump won enough states to top that mark - even though he trailed Clinton by more than 2.6 million votes nationwide.
“It will be very bittersweet,” elector Betsy O’Berry, an accountant from Ramsey, said before voting at noon in the Minnesota Senate Building.
O’Berry, a longtime DFL activist, was a first-time presidential elector. “I wanted to be one this year because I was a Hillary Clinton supporter, and I thought it would be wonderful to be an elector for the first woman president of the United States.”
Minnesota’s 10 Democratic electors were required by state law to vote for Clinton and vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine because the Democratic ticket carried the state in the November election. The Democratic-Farmer-Labor and Republican parties chose the electors at conventions last spring.
Each state gets as many electors as it has seats in Congress. Minnesota has 10 - two senators and eight members of the House of Representatives.
Minnesota’s vote was not without a hiccup. Muhammad Abdurrahman, the 5th Congressional District elector, cast a ballot for Bernie Sanders and was deemed a “faithless elector” and disqualified. The alternate 5th District elector, Jill Garcia, replaced him and voted for Clinton.
A handful of protesters in the Senate hearing room pleaded with electors not to vote. They cheered when Abdurrahman refused to vote for Clinton.
About 100 other protesters gathered at the front entrance to the Senate building, many carrying anti-Trump signs and objecting to the Electoral College process.
Electoral college votes were cast Monday in state capitals across the country. Congress will certify the electors’ votes on Jan. 6.
While Clinton lost the election, Minnesota electors said they were honored to vote for her.
“In the autumn of my years of service, I didn’t want to miss out on a chance to possibly vote for the first woman president,” said state Rep. Mary Murphy, a 40-year DFL lawmaker from Hermantown.
Ray Hess, a retiree from St. Paul, said no matter how the election turned out, he was honored that his fellow Democrats picked him to vote in the Electoral College. “Not many people actually get to vote for president,” he said.
“I have wanted to do it 40 years ago, but I felt it was something you had to be older and wiser to do. I did manage to get older,” he said.
Those three Minnesota electors think Trump’s election despite losing the popular election points to serious flaws in the elector system.
“I think the Electoral College should be eliminated,” Hess said.
But that would require a constitutional amendment, and O’Berry said, “In reality, it’s really hard to change the Constitution.”
Murphy said she favors a system that would allow the popular vote winner to be elected without amending the Constitution.
A group of state lawmakers, headed by Rep. John Lesch, DFL-St. Paul, announced plans Monday to push for a bipartisan “National Popular Vote” compact during the 2017 legislative session. Under the interstate compact, electors from member states would cast their Electoral College votes for the winner of the presidential popular vote. Ten states and the District of Columbia have already signed the compact.