Comanche County Republican Party Chairman explains Electoral Col - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Comanche County Republican Party Chairman explains Electoral College

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - Monday, members of the Electoral College gathered in their respective state capitals to officially elect Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States.

But it didn't come without controversy, as protestors showed up in several cities across the country, urging members of the Electoral College to go against those they represent.
As of about 4:30 today, that final push was unsuccessful, as Texas pushed Trump over the 270-vote threshold to officially win the election.

When we hit the polls back in November we weren't actually voting for President, rather we were voting for who we wanted the members of the Electoral College to vote for when they gathered at the State Capitol to cast their votes this morning.

The protestors were hoping to sway members of the Electoral College to go against what the people they represent wanted. But being a "faithless elector" as it's called is very rare, and Comanche County Republican Party Chairman Ed Petersen says it is actually a crime for members of the Electoral College in Oklahoma.

"Over history there have been about 100 electors that declined to vote, abstained from voting, or they voted for the other party member,” Petersen said. “But it never had any effect on the outcome. So, a person can choose to not follow the pledge or what they were elected to do but it's a crime in Oklahoma and in a number of other states, so it's entirely possible for a person to not honor their pledge."

The electoral college is written into the United States Constitution with the idea of making sure every state matters when it comes time for an election. Each state starts with two electoral college voters and then gains additional voters based on the population of that state. States are broken up into congressional districts, each district having between 700,000 and 800,000 people.

"Each one should be roughly the same. Obviously, Oklahoma has 5 congressional districts based on our population, but a state with a large population has many more representatives, so each congressional district is going to be representing the same number of total population,” Petersen said.

In Oklahoma, there are 7 total members of the electoral college, 5 from the different districts and 2 from the senate, who are required by law to vote for whoever the winning candidate in the entire state was. Petersen said it is a complicated process that despite many people not taking the time to understand, has worked great for centuries.

"The genius of it was our founding fathers a couple hundred years ago came up with this system not knowing the size of the country we would be, the number of states we would be, and quite frankly it's just amazing that it has worked so well,” Petersen said.

Petersen said with the controversy around this election, he has had to explain the electoral college to more people in the last few weeks than ever before.

"In my experience, it's kind of taken for granted and a lot of people don't even know when it's happening,” Petersen said.

Petersen said he could not imagine the chaos that would take place if enough Electoral College voters had decided to change their votes to from Trump to Clinton with how close we are now to Trump's inauguration, which takes place on January 20th.

Copyright 2016 KSWO. All rights reserved.

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