(KMSP) - At this point, electing the President of the United States is essentially a ceremony, the necessary legalities of getting the state’s electors to cast votes for whoever won each state.
In Minnesota, you may recall, that was Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine.
So, in an hourlong ceremony at the Senate Office Building in St. Paul on Monday, 10 electors cast their votes for Clinton and Kaine. But, the ceremony was made a bit more interesting by the drama of dozens of protesters and one “faithless elector.”
Muhammad Abdurrahman, representing the 5th district - essentially Minneapolis - cast his vote for Bernie Sanders. He was promptly replaced by an alternate who then voted the way state law in Minnesota requires, for the ticket that won.
Afterwards, Abdurrahman’s had almost no comment, only that “I’ll just say that I don’t believe that the constitution fits with the law,” in explaining he does not like the law requiring electors to vote a certain way, nor that it requires alternates to ensure it happens.
His move brought loud applause from the handful of protesters allowed inside the ceremony, who held signs and persistently pleaded with electors to either change or delay their vote.
“Think of our children and please delay the vote until all information has been revealed,” implored one protester near the beginning of the assembly. The protesters say they’re concerned about a number of issues in this election, among them President-elect Trump’s apparent disinterest in intelligence briefings and the revelations of potential Russian interference in the election.
“For me coming out today, the point wasn’t to get anyone to change their votes,” explained Leigh Horton of St. Paul. “it was to get them to consider they’re being asked to take a vote today without all of the information.”
Horton said she was in the audience of the Broadway show “Hamilton” the night the cast appealed to Mike Pence, the VP-elect, which inspired her “to take their civil discourse they began in that room that day and bring it to the public and bring it here to the electoral college vote and make sure our voices are heard and considered.”
Minnesota has had electoral college drama before. In fact, the last time there was a “faithless elector” anywhere in the country was in Minnesota in 2004, when an elector voted for John Edwards instead of John Kerry. The elector also misspelled his name, so wound up voting for “John Ewards” instead. That elector also led to Minnesota changing the law to require that all electoral votes go to the candidate that won the state, the law that Abdurrahman was protesting.