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Electoral College: The Actual Presidential Vote

The Electoral College voted on Monday December 19th. There were faithless electors this year, so the final results differed from the “earned” results reported in my “Final Forecast and Election Night Updates” post.

Despite the hopes of groups like the Hamilton Electors, the number of Republican faithless electors was nowhere near the 37 that would have been needed to send the election to the House. Only 2 Republican electors actually abandoned Trump. In fact, not only was the goal of stopping Trump not achieved, but the efforts backfired completely. In the end there were more Democratic defectors than Republican defectors, so Trump’s margin actually increased from a 74 electoral vote win to a 77 electoral vote win. Not quite what those campaigning for electors to vote independently were hoping for.

Lets look at the details of the final counts.

The last state called was Michigan on November 28th. The “earned” electoral vote based on the states won and lost at that point was:

  • Donald Trump 306
  • Hillary Clinton 232

When the electoral college voted, there were 7 faithless electors. 5 of these were Democratic and 2 were Republican. This was the largest number of faithless electors since 1872 when 63 electors pledged to Horace Greeley did not vote for him… because he had died between the November election and the December electoral college vote. Not counting 1872, since perhaps one shouldn’t count not voting for a dead candidate, this was the largest number of faithless electors ever.

The 7 faithless electors voted for a variety of different candidates, making the official totals:

  • Donald Trump 304
  • Hillary Clinton 227
  • Colin Powell 3
  • John Kasich 1
  • Ron Paul 1
  • Bernie Sanders 1
  • Faith Spotted Eagle 1

An additional 3 Democratic electors attempted to be faithless, but were thwarted by state laws and procedures in Maine, Minnesota, and Colorado. It is possible some or all 3 of these electors may end up filing lawsuits over this. If lawsuits actually happen and are all successful (which we obviously can not say at this point), Clinton would lose 3 additional electoral votes, Sanders would gain 2, and Kasich would gain 1. If this were to happen, Trump’s winning margin would increase further to 80 electoral votes.

Normally, we think of the Vice Presidential race as locked with the Presidential race as part of “tickets”, but in fact as far as the electoral college is concerned, these are actually two separate votes, and the faithless electors also split their choices for Vice President. The Vice Presidential results were:

  • Mike Pence 305
  • Tim Kaine 227
  • Elizabeth Warren 2
  • Maria Cantwell 1
  • Susan Collins 1
  • Carly Fiorina 1
  • Winona LaDuke 1

And with that, absent any minor adjustments from potential lawsuits by the three foiled Democratic faithless electors, or Congress doing something unexpected on January 6th, the 2016 electoral results are set.

Donald Trump wins.

Donald Trump August 19, 2015

Photo by Michael Vadon [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons