Elector Joyce Haas not swayed by ‘harassment’ ahead of Electoral College vote

DECEMBER 14, 2016 8:26 PM

Elector Joyce Haas not swayed by ‘harassment’ ahead of Electoral College vote

Abby Drey adrey@centredaily.com

BY LEON VALSECHI

On Monday, 538 electors from around the country will convene in their states to officially elect Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States. And while there has been national talk of electors voting for someone other than Trump, Pennsylvania elector and Centre County resident Joyce Haas won’t be one of them.

Haas, along with 19 other Pennsylvania electors, will be sworn in by Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas G. Saylor Monday morning in Harrisburg. After the ceremony, the votes will officially be cast and Trump will receive the 20 electoral votes he won on Nov. 8.

After the votes are cast, the electors will join Gov. Tom Wolf in the Governor’s mansion for lunch. Haas said the lunch will put an end to what has been a very difficult time since the election.

“This will be a very welcomed day,” Haas said. “All 20 Pennsylvania electors have been victims of extreme harassment by people trying to get us to change our vote.”

Haas has received more than 60,000 emails from individuals and organizations trying to influence her to cast her vote for someone other than Trump. She has also had her personal information, including telephone number and address released online.

She has not read the emails, but the state police are conducting an investigation to determine if she received death threats, according to Haas.

If she felt so inclined, Haas could change her vote on Monday. There is no Constitutional provision stating that an elector must cast their vote for the candidate that was victorious in the state the elector represents. In the event that an elector decides to change their vote, that person would be considered a “faithless elector” and may be subject to fines. No elector has ever been prosecuted for changing their vote, according to archives.gov.

It was widely reported on Monday that 40 electors from around the country have signed a letter demanding an intelligence briefing, ahead of theElectoral College vote, on Russian interference during the election. Only one of the electors who signed the letter is Republican, which Haas said makes the letter irrelevant.

During the election, Trump suggested warmer relations with Russia, possibly shifting the United States’ foreign policy position. On Tuesday, Trump officially selected Rex Tillerson, chief executive of Exxon, to be his secretary of state.

Prior to the selection, Republican and Democratic lawmakers voiced their concerns over Tillerson’s possible ties to Russia. On Saturday, Arizona Republican Senator John McCain said on Fox News that Russian President Vladimir Putin is a “thug, bully and a murderer, and anybody else who describes him as anything else is lying.” Haas doesn’t see Tillerson’s alleged Russian ties as an issue.

“I’m extremely pleased with the president-elect’s cabinet appointments,” Haas said.

Though Trump lost the popular vote by more than 2.8 million votes, Haas said the Electoral College system is working perfectly.

“The system is more important than ever,” Haas said. “It shows the wisdom of our forefathers and it’s why Pennsylvania really mattered.”

Regardless of letters sent by electors asking for Russian intelligence briefings, questions surrounding Trump cabinet selections or the largest margin of victory by a candidate who won the popular vote but failed to win the election, Trump will likely be officially named the next president on Monday. Haas said there is nothing Trump can do between now and Monday that will change her vote.

“Trump has proven himself to be a good person,” Haas said. “And he will be a great president.”

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