ST. GEORGE – Utah’s six presidential electors were met with some cheers and many jeers following their unanimous vote for President-elect Donald Trump. Anti-Trump protesters who had gathered in an attempt to sway the electors’ votes away from Trump shouted “shame” and “treason.”
The vote was made just after noon in a legislative committee room at the state Capitol in Salt Lake City. In addition to the six electors and other officials, the room was packed with protesters and swarming media.
It was quite a contrast to the last time Utah’s electors met, Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox said over Twitter.
“4 yrs ago 5 people showed up. This was a little different,” Cox tweeted.
— Spencer Cox (@SpencerJCox) December 19, 2016
The big difference this time around revolves around the individual slated to be the next president who, according to The Associated Press, hit the needed 270-vote threshold when Texas electors voted around 3:30 p.m. MST.
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 it has no representation in Congress.
Trump, who ran as a Republican, won 306 electoral votes to Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s 232 in the Nov. 8 election.
Prior to the vote, electors in Utah and across the county said they have been inundated with pleas from anti-Trumpers to give their votes to someone else.
Richard Snelgrove, a Salt Lake City councilman and one of Utah’s electors, told The Salt Lake Tribune in a Dec. 5 article that he estimated he received 2,500-3,000 emails and 30-40 personal letters and a couple of phone calls.
“Most are respectful and well-reasoned. But a few have been over-the-top,” Snelgrove said.
Other than Snelgrove, Utah’s electors included: Chia-Chi Teng, Cherilyn Eagar, Kris Kimball, Jeremy Jenkins and Peter Greathouse.
Leading up to the vote Monday, protesters chanted, “the world is watching” and “vote you conscience” to the electors. Once the vote was made, the chants turned to boos and various denouncing shouts like “shame on you” and “cowards,” according to Fox 13 News and The Deseret News.
Under Utah law, the electors must vote for the candidate who won the state. If they give that vote to someone else, that elector is replaced and their vote is not counted.
Upon taking the Electoral College, Peter Corroon, chair of the Utah Democratic Party, issued the following statement:
Today cemented the results of an election process marred by ugliness, interference from foreign governments, and election tactics that have divided our country. As we approach the inauguration of our next president, we now know what the next federal administration will look like. We will have an administration that is filled primarily with mega-wealthy people who have no government experience and people who have disdain for the government entities where they will serve. It is a sad day for our state and our nation.
Despite the protests against Trump, according to a recent poll featured on the website Utah Policy, 59 percent of those polled have some level of optimism for the incoming presidency, while 40 percent are pessimistic.
Further breakdown showed 24 percent are “very optimistic,” with the remaining 35 percent being “somewhat optimistic.”
“Somewhat pessimistic” made up 13 percent of the poll, with 27 percent being “very pessimistic.”
Among Utah Republicans, 82 percent are optimistic about Trump, while 90 percent of Democrats are pessimistic. Only 5 percent of state Democrats showed favor for the incoming administration.
Independent voters were split at 51-48 percent.
The poll represents 614 registered Utah voters. It was conducted by Dan Jones & Associates and includes a 3.96 plus or minus margin for error.
In the general election, Trump carried the state with 45 percent of the vote. Clinton took 27 percent, while independent candidate Evan McMullin took 21 percent.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
Ed. note: This story has been updated to include remarks from the Utah Democratic Party.
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