Hang on, folks – 2016 still has some surprises in store, after all. Amid a push from Democratic loyalists urging the Electoral College to defect from Donald Trump, the first official “faithless elector” has just outed himself.
But in a surprise turn of events, the elector defected from Hillary Clinton and cast his vote for Bernie Sanders instead. According to The Hill, Minnesota elector “Muhammad Abdurrahman, a former Bernie Sanders delegate to the Democratic National Convention, attempted to vote for a presidential ticket of Sanders — an Independent senator from Vermont — and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii).”
However, Abdurrahman’s vote for Sanders was considered invalid, and he was promptly replaced by an elector who would cast a vote for Hillary Clinton.
Many Bernie Sanders supporters remain at odds with the Democratic Party over its treatment of Sanders, citing evidence leaked by WikiLeaks that the DNC colluded against him, as well as the media’s perceived bias in favor of Hillary.
As electors meet today, the Electoral College is expected to give Trump the 270 votes needed to officially secure the presidency.
Democrats have been pressuring the Electoral College to switch votes from Trump to Hillary since she won the popular vote, also citing as-of-yet unconfirmed speculation that Russia intervened in the election for Trump.
UPDATE: Four electors from the state of Washington have now defected from Hillary Clinton, according to the Seattle Times. Three of them voted for former Secretary of State Colin Powell while the fourth voted for Faith Spotted Eagle, a Native American leader from North Dakota who is involved with the Dakota Access Pipeline protests.
A Colorado elector was removed from his position after refusing to vote for Hillary Clinton. Meanwhile, one elector from Maine cast a vote for Bernie Sanders instead of Hillary Clinton. That vote was later overturned.
The Texas Tribune is reporting that two Texas electors refused to vote for Trump, casting votes for Ron Paul and John Kasich instead. Meanwhile, the Huffington Post reports that Trump has now officially garnered the 270 electoral votes needed to be nominated president.