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Kasich Asks Electors Not to Vote for Him Dec. 19

Thanks, but no thanks, was the word Tuesday from Ohio Gov. John Kasich about a campaign to switch electoral votes from Donald Trump to him.

By Tom Troy

Thanks, but no thanks, was the word Tuesday from Ohio Gov. John Kasich about a campaign to switch electoral votes from Donald Trump to him.

Mr. Kasich announced through Twitter that he doesn't want electors to vote for him.

"This approach, as well meaning as it is, will only serve to further divide our nation, when unity is what we need," Mr. Kasich said.

A group calling itself "Hamilton Electors" is encouraging Republican electors to defect. They note that Democrat Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, even though Republican President-Elect Trump won the electoral vote 306 to 232.

Hamilton Electors aim to persuade 37 Republican electors to vote for someone other than Mr. Trump to keep him from garnering the necessary 270 electoral votes, and some saw Mr. Kasich as a compromise alternative.

"A consensus is beginning to form that Governor Kasich would be best positioned to unite America," Democratic Colorado elector Michael Baca said in a statement on Monday.

In his Tweet Tuesday, Mr. Kasich said flatly, "I am not a candidate for president and ask that electors not vote for me when they gather later this month.

"Our country had an election and Donald Trump won. The country is divided and there are certainly raw emotions on both sides stemming from the election," Mr. Kasich tweeted.

He ended with, "Now is the time for all of us to come together as Americans."

Mrs. Clinton's team and the Democratic National Committee have not endorsed the efforts spearheaded by a group of electors in Colorado and Washington state.

A Texas Republican elector announced Monday that he would not cast his vote for Mr. Trump.

He said electors should "unify behind a Republican alternative, an honorable and qualified man or woman such as Gov. John Kasich of Ohio."

Mr. Kasich ran unsuccessfully for the Republican presidential nomination and never endorsed Mr. Trump's candidacy, saying he found some of Mr. Trump's views disturbing.

Matt Borges, Ohio Republican chairman, said the state's 18 electors were chosen in consultation with the Trump campaign to ensure they would be loyal to the candidate who had won the state of Ohio on Nov. 8.

Those electors include Cheryl Blakely of Findlay, who was Mr. Trump's Hancock County campaign chairman.

Ms. Blakely did not return calls seeking comment.

The 538 national electors meet Dec. 19 in their state capitals.

Ohio's 18 electors meet at noon in the Statehouse in Columbus.

The Hamilton Electors are named after Alexander Hamilton, one of the framers of the Constitution who envisioned the Electoral College as a group that would exercise wise judgment if voters selected someone they deemed unfit for the White House.

Constitutional law experts say it is not clear that the Constitution would prohibit an elector from refusing to vote for the candidate he or she was pledged to.

However, electoral college experts also say that because electors are picked by the winners' political parties, they are highly likely to vote for their party's nominee.

(c)2016 The Blade (Toledo, Ohio)

Caroline Cournoyer is GOVERNING's senior web editor.
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