Despite pressure, Tennessee electors cast 11 votes for Trump

Despite pressure, Tennessee electors cast 11 votes for Trump

December 19th, 2016 by Andy Sher in Politics State

Republican Gov. Bill Haslam, bottom right, and Secretary of State Tre Hargett, bottom center, await the state's Electoral College vote in the House chamber in Nashville, Tenn., on Monday, Dec. 19, 2016. Tennessee's 11 presidential electors on Monday cast their ballots for Republican Donald Trump amid protesters demanding they stray from their legal obligation to support the candidate who carried the state. (AP Photo/Erik Schelzig)

Photo by The Associated Press /Times Free Press.

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FILE - In this Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016, file photo, President-elect Donald Trump speaks during a rally at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. Trump's closest advisers see Democrats' complaints that Moscow hacked their private emails this election season as a case of sour grapes. The pushback comes ahead of the Electoral College vote, Monday, Dec. 19, which is expected to make official Trump's election win. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

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Photo by The Associated Press/Times Free Press.

NASHVILLE — Tennessee's 11 Electoral College votes all went to Republican Donald Trump on Monday despite calls from protesters to ignore a state requirement to support the candidate who wins the popular vote.

Republican electors here said they had been blitzed by thousands of letters, emails and phone calls, some of them threatening and nearly all from out-of-state groups aiming to deny an expected Electoral College victory by Trump.

But Tennessee's vote was not without some side drama. Protesters in the state Capitol's House gallery twice interrupted proceedings. One woman shouted Trump was "nuts," prompting state Election Coordinator Mark Goins to bang his gavel and demand order. She was escorted out.

A man later sought to read a Bible verse, prompting Goins to tell him: "We certainly appreciate the Scripture, but this is a procedure the Electoral College can only proceed in. The answer is no."

On Election Day in Tennessee, Trump won 1,522,925 votes while Democrat Hillary Clinton garnered 870,960.

Republican Gov. Bill Haslam presided over portions of the meeting.

"Donald Trump has been elected president of the United States; I want to do everything I can to make him and Mike Pence be successful in that role," Haslam said.

"While some people don't like the result, and obviously, we had protesters [Monday] who didn't like that, ultimately, you have to love the process that we're a part of in this country," he added. "It's the best process there is."

When the Tennessee electoral ballots were first collected, one elector, Liz Holiway of Harriman, mistakenly failed to mark the box for Trump. Officials sent the ballot back and she checked the box.

"I just didn't have my glasses on," Holiway later laughed when asked by reporters what had happened. "I'm a die-hard Republican. I'm on the state executive committee and have been for 25 years. So I wouldn't make a mistake like that!"

Protesters earlier rallied before the state Capitol in Nashville as part of a national effort by some groups to turn Republican electors after news of alleged Russian intervention in the American presidential election.

"This is the best chance for democracy to prevail in America," said Craig Mathews of White House, Tenn., a Vietnam War veteran who carried a sign showing Trump kissing Russian autocrat Vladimir Putin with the caption, "From Russia with Love."

"In Tennessee, there's got to be some conscience," Mathews said. "There's got to be."

Contact staff writer Andy Sher at asher@timesfreepress.com or 615-255-0550. Follow on twitter at AndySher1.


This story was updated Dec. 19 at 11:45 p.m.


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