Faithless Electors Could Make Hillary's Loss Even Worse

If they're free to do whatever they want, they could also help out Donald Trump.

Getty Images / Justin Sullivan

Donald Trump’s unexpected victory in Tuesday’s presidential election has legions of Hillary Clinton supporters grasping at the last, desperate chance that Trump might not take the White House: faithless electors. Clinton, after all, won the popular vote, so there’s a movement asking electors in the Electoral College to break with the voters of their state and cast a ballot for her instead of Trump, as they’re free to do under U.S. law. It’s almost certainly not going to happen, but while we’re thinking in wild impossibilities, there’s also the chance that faithless electors could swing the other way and make Clinton’s loss even worse.

Assuming that the final vote count in Michigan confirms that Trump took the state, he’ll have beaten Clinton by 310 electoral votes to her 228. Millions of people have signed a petition hoping that enough electors will lose their faith and put Clinton in power instead, but they could also just make it an even more crushing defeat.

There are still ways that the 2016 presidential election can get crazier. 

Getty Images / Chip Somodevilla

Heck, on the Friday before the election, a Democratic elector in the state of Washington declared that he would not be voting for Clinton. Robert Satiacum, a member of Washington’s Puyallup Tribe, supported Bernie Sanders in the primary and is a vocal opponent of Clinton. Speaking to the Associated Press, Satiacum said that Clinton “will not get [his] vote, period.”

Granted, pretty much everyone was expecting Clinton to win the election instead of Trump, but if Satiacum really wants to stick to his guns, he could still cast his electoral college vote in protest, giving Trump an extra point, or even just depriving Clinton of one by symbolically awarding it to Sanders. Inverse reached out to Satiacum to ask if he was still planning on voting for someone other than Clinton, and will update this story if we hear from him.

Faithless electors — if there are any — probably won’t upend the final results of the presidential election, but they can still make 2016 even weirder and wilder.