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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Demonstrators want to persuade electors to switch votes, oppose Trump



An unknown number of protesters plans to rally at the Florida Capitol throughout the day today in the hopes of persuading the state's 29 electors to defy protocol and formally elect Democrat Hillary Clinton as president -- instead of Republican President-elect Donald Trump -- when members of the Electoral College convene this afternoon.

Demonstrators plan to gather starting at 9 a.m. and will continue until the electors cast their votes at 2 p.m. in the Florida Senate chamber.

"The idea is to be visible to electors so we can connect with them ahead of the vote and urge them to vote for the winner of the national popular vote," said Kait Sweeney, spokeswoman for the Progressive Change Campaign Committee -- one of several groups coordinating nationwide protests.

The protesters' efforts in Tallahassee aren't expected to be successful. Florida's electors have already been subjected to intense pressure by anti-Trump forces but none of the electors has publicly said they intend to change their vote.

MORE: "Florida elector Joe Negron calls anti-Trump fervor 'sour grapes'"

The Tallahassee protest is part of coordinated demonstrations at state Capitols across the country by groups calling themselves the "Dec. 19 Coalition." They who oppose Donald Trump and want to change the final outcome of the November election. (The groups in the coalition are Americans Take Action, the Electoral College Petition, and Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Democracy Spring.)

The coalition argues that because Clinton earned a clear victory in the popular vote, the Electoral College should support her and not Trump. They also cite revelations about Russian influence in the election as another reason Trump shouldn't win the White House.

Trump won the majority of Electoral College votes needed (a minimum 270) by securing narrow victories in key Rust Belt states, such as Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

He won Florida, too, garnering 49 percent of the vote -- and 112,911 votes more than Clinton.

Still, the demonstrators are asking Florida's electors to defy what Florida voters decided in light of the national result.

"All electors have the Constitutional right to vote their conscience," Sweeney said in an email. "We're urging Florida's electors to respect the will of the American people and vote for the winner of the national popular vote. Trump lost the popular vote by almost 3 million votes and eked out a win in part thanks to Russia hacking our democracy and massive voter suppression."
Demonstrations are planned at the Florida Capitol on Dec. 19 by groups hoping to convince Florida's electors to cast Electoral College votes for Hillary Clinton and not Donald Trump, who won the state's popular vote.
Kristen M. Clark / Times/Herald Tallahassee bureau

[Last modified: Friday, December 16, 2016 6:03pm]


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