While it’s unlikely an Electoral College insurrection will block Donald Trump from taking office as president, the president-elect’s detractors are giving it their best shot.
Idaho’s four Trump electors, including Jennifer Locke of Kootenai County, are being besieged with phone calls, email and social media messages from people from Idaho and beyond asking them to stray from the party line when the Electoral College votes on Dec. 19.
Idaho Secretary of State Lawrence Denney’s office issued a statement Monday calling for respect and civility for presidential electors.
“Many of these phone calls are crossing into what could reasonably be considered harassment. The callers are trying to persuade the electors to become what is known as a ‘faithless elector,’” the statement said.
Locke said she’s steering clear of engaging with the people contacting her.
“With the violence and the protests going on, you just don’t know how people’s emotions are right now,” Locke said.
Although Donald Trump may not win the popular vote, he won enough states for an Electoral College victory.
Appointed by their party, presidential electors pledge to vote for their party’s nominee, but there is nothing barring an elector in Idaho from becoming a “faithless” one. The U.S. Constitution does not prohibit it and Idaho is one of 21 states with no state law forcing an elector to comply.
Locke thinks that may have something to do with the intensity of the effort to get Gem State Trump electors to flip, although she has no intention of doing so.
“We just want this to be peaceful. We’re just doing what we were chosen to do. It was a fair election and we need to move on,” Locke said. “I’m not going rogue with my vote. I’m still voting for Trump.”
Locke said she started receiving the messages last week on the Facebook page she set up for herself as Republican precinct committeewoman in Precinct 13, which wraps around the northern and western sections of Hayden Lake.
She shut down that Facebook page and removed photos and increased the privacy settings on her personal profile page after someone posted, “Oh, you have a beautiful daughter. You shouldn’t vote for Trump.”
Eventually the Trump opposers started sending her emails and now they have her home phone number.
The email messages contain similar content, she said.
Those contacting Locke and the state’s other presidential electors — Layne Bangerter, of Boise; Melinda Smyser, of Parma; and Caleb Lakey, of Kuna — are likely lifting passages from an online petition started six days ago on change.org.
The petition, named “Electoral College: Make Hillary Clinton President on December 19,” had 4.4 million signatures by Tuesday afternoon.
According to the secretary of state’s office, although there have been 157 “faithless electors” in history, no elector has ever changed the outcome of an election by going rogue.