A Democratic elector in Maine who is required by law to cast his Electoral College vote for Hillary Clinton on Monday says he will choose Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders instead.
David Bright announced on his Facebook page that he is picking Sanders in order to instill hope in young voters, especially those who supported the democratic socialist in the Democratic primaries.
“I cast my Electoral College vote for Bernie Sanders today to let those new voters who were inspired by him know that some of us did hear them, did listen to them, do respect them and understand their disappointment,” Bright wrote.
“I want them to know that not only can they come back to the process, but that they will be welcomed back; that there is room in the Democratic Party for their values.”
Bright said that he would have cast his vote for Clinton if she had carried the Electoral College on election day or if she had a better shot at upsetting Trump with a mass defection of electors.
“But as the Electoral College meets all across this nation on this day, I see no likelihood of 38 Republican electors defecting from their party and casting their ballots for Secretary Clinton,” wrote Bright, who will vote with Maine’s three other electors at the state capitol in Augusta at 2 p.m. on Monday.
Electors will convene in state capitols across the country throughout the day to cast their votes as well.
Some Democrats and political activists have embarked on a long-shot effort to convince at least 37 electors from states that supported Trump to cast their vote for someone else. Trump received 306 electors based on the election day results. If 37 electors defected, he would have 269 votes, one short of the 270 needed to win the White House.
If neither Trump nor Clinton meet the 270 threshold, the House of Representatives would select the next president. Trump would likely prevail under that scenario since the House has a heavy GOP majority.
Maine has four electors, but it is one of two states, along with Nebraska, which splits its votes based upon results in its congressional districts. Two Maine electors were awarded to Clinton because she won the popular vote there. She picked up another elector, Bright, because she won the popular vote in the 1st congressional district. But Trump received one elector because he won more votes in the state’s second congressional district. That Republican elector has said he plans to stick with Trump.
Bright is required by Maine state law to cast his vote for Clinton. The Pine Tree State is one of 30 states that has laws requiring electors to cast their votes for the candidate to whom they are pledged. But the penalty for defection is light.
As Bright told the Portland Press Herald about his decision to break the law: “Maine also has a law that you’re not supposed to go faster than 70 on the interstate. I suspect that I’m going to break that law on my trip to Augusta this morning, too.”