As the Electoral College meets at state capitols across the nation on Monday, at least one Democratic elector in Maine will cast a ballot vote for Bernie Sanders instead of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton “to represent the Democrats in Maine.”
“I am not a Clinton elector, I am a Democratic elector,” David Bright, a Democratic elector said in a public Facebook post on Monday. “I do not represent Democrats all over the country, I represent the Democrats in Maine.”
“I cast my vote for Bernie Sanders not out of spite, or malice, or anger, or as an act of civil disobedience,” Bright added, explaining that he would have voted for Clinton had his vote helped secure her White House bid, but he now sees “no likelihood of 38 Republican electors defecting from their party and casting their ballots for Secretary Clinton.”
Bright said that his vote represented youth voters — “many less than a third my age — who came into Maine politics for the first time this year because of Bernie Sanders” — who he didn’t want to turn away from the Democratic party.
Sanders has long identified as an Independent, but he ran for president as a Democrat.
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Maine requires presidential electors to select the popular vote winner, but electors can pay a fine (which has yet to be enforced) to defect. Trump is set to receive 306 electoral votes to Clinton’s 232. The Democratic presidential candidate received 357,735 votes in Maine, or 47.8% of the state’s total votes, while Trump received 335,593 votes, or 44.9%. The state has four electors: with Bright’s vote, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has two electoral votes in the state, and Sanders and President-elect Donald Trump each has one vote.
Bright’s Sanders defection has little consequence on the outcome of the election. As it stands, Chris Suprun, a Republican elector from Texas, is the only GOP electors who has publicly said he would not cast his ballot for President-elect Donald Trump. He said he would vote for Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) instead because of “mounting evidence” that Russian hackers intervened in U.S. election. Last week, Suprun joined a growing number of electors who called for a briefing about exactly what intelligence officials know about Russia’s involvement.
A recent Morning Consult/ POLITICO poll found that about 45 percent of voters want the Constitution to be amended so that the presidency is awarded to the candidate who received the most popular votes. The poll found that nearly seven in ten Democrats favored a constitutional amendment, while six in ten Republicans would prefer the system to stay the same.
Democratic presidential candidates have won the popular vote in six of the seven past presidential elections, but lost the Electoral College in 2000 and appear likely to do so again in 2016.