Idaho’s four Republican electors are scheduled to meet in the state Capitol at noon Monday, Dec. 19, and none is expected to waiver in officially committing the state’s electoral votes to President-elect Donald Trump and his Vice President-elect, Mike Pence.
The electors will convene in Gov. Butch Otter’s ceremonial office in an exercise played out in all 50 states and the District of Columbia on the first Monday following the second Wednesday of December after the election. It is usually a brief, pro forma affair, as electors translate the outcome of November’s popular vote into the official Electoral College result by which U.S. presidents are formally elected.
But as with the 2016 election itself, there might be little that is pro forma about this year’s process. With national security agencies reasserting their findings of Russian interference in the election, 10 electors nationally want an intelligence briefing before the vote.
The president-elect called those reports “ridiculous” in an interview with Chris Wallace of “Fox News Sunday,” but there is growing bipartisan support in Congress for a review. On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell confirmed that a Senate intelligence panel will investigate.
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Idaho’s electors are Layne Bangerter of Melba, who chaired Trump’s Idaho campaign; former state Sen. Melinda Smyser of Parma; Caleb Lakey of Kuna; and Jennifer Locke of Coeur d’Alene. The four have been inundated by communications from across the country urging them not to vote for Trump in the Electoral College canvass.
“I have boxes of cards and letters” and “tens of thousands of emails,” Bangerter said Monday. “They have my cellphone, my email. They have my home phone, they know my address. … We thought things would slow down after the election. To the contrary, things have accelerated.”
Bangerter said he did not “want to make any value judgment” on the intelligence community’s findings of Russian interference in the election. He said Idaho’s electors “have our eyes on the prize to make sure every formality is finished, every I is dotted and T is crossed to make sure (Trump) gets everything he needs to become president of the United States.”
Smyser, who said she also was still getting letters from Trump opponents, said she was not swayed by the latest hacking reports and would vote for Trump as pledged.
“There’s so much information out there you don’t know what to believe, so you just have to do what you think is right,” she said.
Lakey and Locke could not immediately be reached for comment.