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Electors Cast Votes To Officially Name Nation's Next President


Donald Trump was elected president of the United States today again. The Electoral College gathered in state capitols across the country to formalize the results of last month's election. As NPR's Scott Detrow reports, they did so under unprecedented scrutiny.

SCOTT DETROW, BYLINE: In Pennsylvania, Secretary of State Pedro Cortes began the Electoral College proceedings by explaining some history.


PEDRO CORTES: Under our federal system, the people of the United States vote for electors who in turn vote for the president and vice president.

DETROW: It's a process that got far more attention this year than ever before. Take Hillary Clinton's nearly 3-million-person popular vote lead. Add in questions about Donald Trump's temperament and platform plus evidence Russia tried to influence the election, and you've suddenly got a widespread push to get the electors to overturn the results and vote for someone else. Even celebrities like notable fictional president Martin Sheen got in on the act.


MARTIN SHEEN: Republican members of the Electoral College, this message is for you.

DETROW: But Republican electors didn't listen. In state after state, they voted for Trump. All 20 Pennsylvania votes went for the Republican, disappointing protesters like Julia Allen, who camped outside the state capitol overnight.

JULIA ALLEN: We weren't thinking that all of them were going to switch over, but we thought maybe even one or two would take this opportunity to vote with their conscience.

ASH KHARE: They don't understand us.

DETROW: Ash Khare has been a Pennsylvania elector since 1996, but he had never gotten to vote because a Republican had never won.

KHARE: I received over 70,000 emails. I have received over 5,000 letters. I have received over 500 phone calls at all times of day and night.

DETROW: But Khare says he was proud to vote Trump. In fact after all the attention, far more electors tried to defect from Clinton than Trump. Maine elector David Bright tried to vote for Bernie Sanders to send his supporters a message.

DAVID BRIGHT: I want them to know that some of us were listening. Some of us appreciated them. We understand their disappointment.

DETROW: Electors in Colorado and Minnesota tried to vote for other candidates, too, but in all three states, those votes ended up going to Clinton. Four Washington state electors did go rogue. Those were votes that Clinton, not Trump, would have earned. Scott Detrow, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Scott Detrow is a White House correspondent for NPR and co-hosts the NPR Politics Podcast.