PHOENIX — At least two Arizona electors said they have received thousands of emails, phone calls and letters urging them to refuse to cast a ballot for President-elect Donald Trump when the Electoral College votes next week.
Alberto Gutier, 77, director of the Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety and the state GOP’s sergeant-at-arms, said he’s been swamped with emails, several dozen calls to his personal cellphone “and a stack of letters a foot high” about his service as a Republican elector.
These are largely pleas for him to back someone other than Trump.
“Forty-seven thousand, five hundred emails, that’s ridiculous, OK? And hundreds and hundreds of letters. Do you have any idea, for those stamps, how many people could have been fed for the holidays?”
Sharon Geise, a grandmother who lives in Mesa, told the New York Post that she woke up the day after the election to more than 1,500 emails urging her to vote against Trump. She has received more than 48,000 emails since then.
“Obviously their minds are made up and they’re not going to change. I’m not either,” Geise told the publication.
The pressure being exerted on the Arizona electors is part of a larger nationwide effort to prevent Trump from taking the White House. The effort is being backed by some celebrities and encourages electors to vote for anyone but the president-elect.
The Electoral College vote is the last step in a long election process. When voters cast ballots in their state, they are really casting a ballot for the state’s electors, who in turn cast their ballot for president. The system was put in place by the founding fathers.
Arizona’s 11 electors are not bound by law to vote for a specific nominee. However, instances of Electoral College members who cast a ballot in contrast to voters’ wishes — so-called faithless electors — are exceedingly rare.
There have only been 157 faithless electors in the nation’s history according to FairVote. But 71 of those were changed because the nominee died before the Electoral College voted, meaning 82 were personal decisions to go against voters.
A faithless elector has never changed the results of a presidential election in American history.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.