I’ve been harassed by thousands over my Electoral College vote.
ASHLEY MCMILLAN HUTCHINSON
This summer, the chairman of the Kansas Republican Party asked me to be one of the six electors who represent the state of Kansas in the Electoral College. I completely geeked out. Of the more than 137 million Americans who voted for president this year, only 538 are electors. While I jumped at the chance, I was not prepared for what would happen next.
I always knew Donald Trump would win Kansas, but like most people who follow politics closely, I didn’t expect him to win the Electoral College. I figured that Kansas would let me cast my vote for the also-ran—still a great honor. Then the unthinkable happened.
Election Night left me in awe. There were many reasons to be pleased. Those blue-collar, fly-over, working-class voters who showed up in droves and put Mr. Trump over the edge in several swing states? Those are my people. They weren’t motivated by hate or race. They were disappointed in the current administration and lack of economic progress. The assumptions about this group of voters by the media and ivory-tower elite only motivated them to victory.
I was excited because I was an Electoral College member and I was casting my vote for the winner in a historic election. Then things got a little strange.
It started with a couple of emails three days after the election. SinceHillary Clinton had won the popular vote, former electors warned me that I would probably receive hundreds of emails urging me to change my vote to prevent Mr. Trump from getting to the White House. I answered the first few back and had some polite—and some not-so-polite—exchanges with folks urging me to vote for Mrs. Clinton. Grassroots groups such as Ask the Electors had found my work email and spread it to their email lists. They also published my work address, home address, cell phone and work phone.
I had intended on answering everyone who emailed me. Then the flood started. At its peak, I was receiving 500 emails an hour. At least 20 letters arrived at my office daily, and the calls came in 24 hours a day.
The majority of the notes called for the elimination of the Electoral College because it was undemocratic. As an elector, I can’t do anything about this, but I still don’t buy the argument. There are many provisions in our constitutional republic that allow for a departure from direct democracy. The Electoral College ensures that Americans from throughout the country can be represented.
Others told me to act as a faithless elector and vote my conscience to stop Mr. Trump from taking the presidency. Only 157 electors in history have broken their pledge and voted for an alternate candidate or abstained from voting, according to FairVote. There is a reason this tactic has never been successful: It assumes the worst of Americans. These letter writers are asking me to disavow my own people, because they are supposedly racist and easily fooled. I don’t buy it. I won’t violate the will of the people of Kansas simply because coastal elites think Mr. Trump tweets too much.
I noticed another theme in the thousands of missives I’ve received. They don’t seek to understand or persuade—only to insist. Most of these people want it their way and they want it now. As a mother of two small children, I know how to handle that.
Ms. McMillan Hutchinson is the vice chairwoman of the Kansas Republican Party.