When the mail arrived at Steve King’s Janesville home Friday it came in a tray filled with more than 500 letters. The letter carrier, remarking it was the most mail he had delivered to a residence in his 20-year career, asked if they were Christmas cards.
“I explained and he said, ‘Oh I get it. They want you to vote for Hillary,'” King said.
King is one of 10 Republicans who will convene in the State Capitol Monday at noon to cast the state’s official ballots for president and vice president of the United States — and unlike a typical year they’ve been swamped with petitions to change their vote.
The Electoral College, the 538 men and women who select the president typically based on the popular vote in their state, has received an unusual level of attention this year after President-elect Donald Trump won a majority of electoral votes, but lost the popular vote to Democrat Hillary Clinton by nearly 3 million votes. Trump’s victory has come under additional scrutiny because of suspected Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee — the kind of foreign influence in elections Founding Father Alexander Hamilton once wrote was a reason for creating the Electoral College.
King, one of the state’s representatives on the Republican National Committee, said he has received more than 1,000 letters from people asking him to change his vote from President-elect Donald Trump, who won the state by nearly 23,000 votes.
King was also an elector the last time a Republican won Wisconsin in 1984, and he got zero letters. Despite the organized campaign to get him to change his vote, he said he signed a pledge to cast his ballot for Trump and is obligated to follow the will of the state’s voters.
Brian Westrate, chairman of the 3rd Congressional District Republican Party, said he has received about 75,000 emails and more than 1,200 letters in recent days. He said he responded to the first 200 emails or so — politely saying he understood their position, but Trump won Wisconsin — though he gave up once it became a deluge.
“The reason I don’t take them seriously is because it appears the problem is that a Republican won, not that Trump won,” Westrate said.
In addition to King and Westrate, Wisconsin’s Electoral College members this year are Kim Babler, Bill Berglund, Mary Buestrin, Brad Courtney, Dan Feyen, Kevin Hermening (a replacement for Jim Miller, who was hired by U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy and as a federal employee can’t be an elector), Kathy Kiernan and Kim Travis.
(c)2016 The Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, Wis.)
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