It’s a bold statement, and one unlikely to work, but millions of people want to try anyway.
A petition that has garnered more than 2 million signatures as of Friday morning is calling on members of the electoral college to ignore their states’ votes and choose Hillary Clinton for president rather than Donald Trump.
“Mr. Trump is unfit to serve. His scapegoating of so many Americans, and his impulsivity, bullying, lying, admitted history of sexual assault, and utter lack of experience make him a danger to the Republic,” the petition states. “Secretary Clinton WON THE POPULAR VOTE and should be President.”
Official counts are still not completed for all states, but Trump won at least 290 electoral votes and Clinton won 228. Michigan appears likely to go to Trump, bringing him to 306, and New Hampshire looks likely to go to Clinton, bringing her to 232. However, Clinton seems to have won the popular vote, with about 60.3 million votes to Trump’s 59.9 million. If those numbers stand, at least 38 members of the electoral college would have to become so-called “faithless electors” to deliver Clinton the presidency over Trump.
The Electoral College officially votes on Dec. 19. There are 29 states that require electors to vote as pledged, according to Fair Vote, but penalties are limited to fines and misdemeanors.
Incidences of faithless electors are incredibly rare, and they have never changed the outcome of an election. Electors have only defected 157 times in history, according to Fair Vote, with 71 of these votes changed because the original candidate died before the Electoral College cast its votes. Three of the votes were electors who chose to abstain and the rest were changed based on an elector’s personal feelings.
The most recent example was an unknown elector from Minnesota in 2004 who was pledged to vote for John Kerry instead casting a vote for John Edwards, Kerry’s running mate. Some believed the ballot was cast by mistake.
Many people, particularly women, shared the petition on Twitter, calling it a last hope for people who supported Clinton or didn’t want Trump to be president.
Trump called the Electoral College a “disaster” in 2012, after President Barack Obama won against Mitt Romney.
The petition is the latest in a stream of examples of supporters of both candidates ignoring calls for unity by both Trump and Clinton. Trump said in his victory speech that he wanted to be president “to all Americans,” while Clinton said in her concession that she hoped Trump would be successful and that, “We owe him an open mind and a chance to lead.”
But anti-Trump demonstrators have taken to the streets in cities such as Portland and Baltimore, spurring conversation online about refusing to accept Trump as president. That prompted Trump to condemn the “professional protestors” on Twitter Thursday night, though he reversed course on Friday morning.
Meanwhile, immigrants, women and people of color have been reporting increased incidents of discriminatory and racist behavior from people citing Trump’s name.