Thousands of emails land in their inboxes every day. Copies of the Federalist Papers and other books urging political courage are being mailed to their homes. They are even getting phone calls in the middle of the night. Such has been the life of Pennsylvania’s 20 electors for President-elect Donald Trump since the Nov. 8 election.
On Monday, they will travel to the state Capitol to cast their votes to assign Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes to Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence during what has, in the past, been a ceremonial and largely unnoticed event.
Not this year.
This time around, the electors will be greeted by organized protests, urging them to assign Pennsylvania’s electoral votes to anyone but Trump.
One elector, Ash Khare, said he and each of the 19 others have been assigned a plainclothes state police trooper for protection.
“I’m a big boy,” said Khare, an India-born engineer and a longtime Republican from Warren County, who estimates he receives 3,000 to 5,000 emails, letters, and phone calls a day from as far away as France, Germany, and Australia. “But this is stupid. Nobody is standing up and telling these people, ‘Enough, knock it off.’ ”
Pennsylvania is not among those states that require its electors to vote for the candidate who won the state. This year, that was Trump, who became the first Republican presidential candidate to win Pennsylvania in nearly three decades.
Nonetheless, electors are usually party stalwarts — people handpicked by the presidential nominee and their state parties and expected to remain loyal.
Although they have occurred, defections are rare.
“I take my job as an elector very seriously, and in Pennsylvania, Donald Trump won,” said Mary Barket, a Northampton County resident and president of the Pennsylvania Federation of Republican Women. “So any argument thereafter, especially about the nature of him being a president, is not going to have an effect on me.”