WASHINGTON (WTXF/AP) - And you thought Election Day was in November. Electors are set to gather in every state on Monday to formally elect Donald Trump president even as anti-Trump forces try one last time to deny him the White House.
Donald Trump is lashing out on Twitter in advance of the Electoral College vote. The president-elect says: "If my many supporters acted and threatened people like those who lost the election are doing, they would be scorned & called terrible names!"
Protests overshadowed members of Pennsylvania's 58th Electoral College, arriving at the state Capitol to cast the state's electoral votes for president. The ceremony will be at noon in the state House of Representatives' chamber. Protests were expected and more security preparations than usual were made.
However, more than 200 demonstrators took to the steps of Pennsylvania's Capitol to greet members of the Electoral College, with the faint hope of persuading them not to vote for Republican President-elect Donald Trump. The demonstrators were waving signs and chanting "No Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA" and "no treason, no Trump" in 25-degree weather.
Trump won Pennsylvania's popular vote by less than 1 percent in Pennsylvania, which means he got to pick the people who will cast the Keystone State's 20 electoral votes. That's fifth-most in the nation.
New Jersey's electors will meet Monday afternoon in Trenton to formally allot the state's 14 electoral votes to Democrats Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine.
Delaware's three Democratic electors convened Monday morning at Legislative Hall in Dover. They officially cast their ballots and made Clinton the winner of the Electoral College presidential vote in the First State. Lydia York, Linda Cavanaugh and Lynn Fuller all voted for Clinton, as expected, giving her the state's three electoral votes.
GOP electors have been inundated with emails, phone calls and letters urging them to vote against Trump.
He frequently whipped up audiences at his huge rallies by railing against reporters, immigrants, Muslims and his critics. He repeatedly threatened news outlets with lawsuits. And he and his supporters have bombarded his critics on Twitter.
Protests are planned for state capitals, but they are unlikely to persuade the Electoral College to dump Trump. An Associated Press survey of electors found very little appetite to vote for alternative candidates.
Republican electors say they have been deluged with emails, phone calls and letters urging them not to support Trump. Many of the emails are part of coordinated campaigns.
"The letters are actually quite sad," said Lee Green, a Republican elector from North Carolina. "They are generally freaked out. They honestly believe the propaganda. They believe our nation is being taken over by a dark and malevolent force."
Wirt A. Yerger Jr., a Republican elector in Mississippi, said, "I have gotten several thousand emails asking me not to vote for Trump. I threw them all away."
A joint session of Congress is scheduled for Jan. 6 to certify the results of the Electoral College vote, with Vice President Joe Biden presiding as president of the Senate. Once the result is certified, the winner -- likely Trump -- will be sworn in on Jan. 20.
The Electoral College was devised at the Constitutional Convention in 1787. It was a compromise between those who wanted popular elections for president and those who wanted no public input.
The Electoral College has 538 members, with the number allocated to each state based on how many representatives it has in the House plus one for each senator. The District of Columbia gets three, despite the fact that the home to Congress has no vote in Congress.
To be elected president, the winner must get at least half plus one -- or 270 electoral votes. Most states give all their electoral votes to whichever candidate wins that state's popular vote. Maine and Nebraska award them by congressional district.
The AP tried to reach all of the electors and interviewed more than 330 of them, finding widespread aggravation among Democrats with the electoral process, but little expectation Trump would be derailed.
Some Democrats have argued that the Electoral College is undemocratic because it gives more weight to less populated states. That is how Hillary Clinton, who got more than 2.6 million more votes nationwide, lost the election to Trump. Some have also tried to dissuade Trump voters by arguing that he is unsuited to the job. Others cite the CIA's assessment that Russia engaged in computer hacking to sway the election in favor of the Republican.
But despite the national group therapy session being conducted by some Democrats, only one Republican elector told the AP that he will not vote for Trump.
There is no constitutional provision or federal law that requires electors to vote for the candidate who won their state. Some states require their electors to vote for the winning candidate, either by law or through signed pledges. But no elector has ever been prosecuted for failing to vote as pledged, according to the National Archives.
Those laws are rarely tested. More than 99 percent of electors through U.S. history have voted for the candidate who won their state.
Electors are selected by state parties, and so are often insiders who can be trusted to vote for the party's candidate. Many Republican electors said they feel duty-bound to honor their pledge to vote for the candidate who won their state, regardless of how they feel about Trump.
Still, some anti-Trump activists have been getting creative in trying to persuade electors to dump Trump.
In addition to thousands of emails, Republican elector Charlie Buckels of Louisiana said he received a FedEx package with a 50-page document that the sender said "had absolute proof that the Russians hacked the elections."
"From the tenor of these emails, you would think these people are curled up in a corner in a fetal position with a thumb in their mouth," Buckels said.