For Tri-State Electoral College electors, the presidential campaign is far from over

Some electors report efforts to flip their votes
Posted at 1:56 PM, Dec 01, 2020

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose announced Friday that election officials across the Buckeye State had certified more than 6 million votes in hundreds of races. The election was officially over. The results were officially in.

But for Ohio's lineup of presidential electors -- the group of individuals designated by each candidate's campaign to reflect the people's vote in the Electoral College -- the casting of ballots has yet to begin, and the campaigning is far from over.

"It's a lot of excitement," said former Ohio Secretary of State, former Cincinnati mayor and 2020 Ohio Republican elector Ken Blackwell. "You never get tired of it, and you carry that responsibility as a badge of pride and civic duty."

As part of the elector selection process, which takes place each election year before that state's primary, Trump's campaign recruited Blackwell to represent GOP voters. Every presidential ticket on the ballot recruited its own roster of electors in each state, but only those representing the winning ticket get to cast their votes in Ohio.

That means Trump-appointed electors will cast all 18 of Ohio's electoral votes.

The process works the same in Kentucky, Indiana and every other state except Maine and Nebraska, which split their electoral votes proportionately to the popular vote results. All eight of the Commonwealth's and all 11 of the Hoosier State's electoral votes will go to Trump.

Blackwell said to flip one's electoral vote would mean betraying the public's trust.

"It's very important that people understand that, once you are recruited and elected as an elector in the state of Ohio, you can't then change your mind," Blackwell said. "You are a representative of the people of Ohio to cast your vote for the person who, in fact, won your state."

Hamilton County GOP Chairman Alex Triantafilou said commitment like Blackwell's doesn't stop some constituents from reaching out and urging electors to flip their votes, even if such efforts historically almost always fail.

Campaigns typically recruit electors based on their professional background working in elected office or in the elections process in support of a candidate or party.

"These are some of the people who have dedicated their professional lives, even their personal lives in many ways, to the effort," he said.

But when Triantafilou served as a GOP elector in the 2016 presidential race, he said he received crates of letters urging him to flip and vote for someone else after election officials declared President Trump had taken Ohio.

"I never once gave it a thought," he said. "To me, it is hugely important that you honor the will of the voters in your state."

After each states' electors assemble to cast their votes on Dec. 14, the U.S. Congress will then vote to ratify the results on Jan. 6, 2021.

Current media projections attribute 306 electoral votes to Democratic challenger Joe Biden and 232 to President Trump. The president has continued to persist in his legal challenges to results in various swing states, citing heretofore unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud. Judges have tossed nearly all of those challenges for failing to provide evidence.