In addition to your kids writing “Dear Santa” letters, how about “Dear Member of the Electoral College” letters?
A Brooklyn-based activist has launched a website, called Direct Election, encouraging citizens to write respectful, personalized letters to key members of the Electoral College asking them to withhold their support of the president-elect later this month, when the next President of the United States will be officially selected.
“The purpose of this site is to help you send your own signed postal letters to the members of the Electoral College from states won by Donald Trump to ask them, respectfully, not to vote for Trump,” says the site, launched by Jeff Strabone, who describes himself as “a registered Democrat from New York..., a U.S. citizen, “ and a voter who is ’terrified’ by the prospect of a Trump presidency.”
The site is aimed at adults. But why not have your kids send letters too, in this holiday season?
Many families are already talking politics around the dinner table. It’s a teachable moment, a time to discuss how our democracy works, checks and balances, and how policy impacts every single one of us. Certainly decisions facing the nation from climate change, women’s rights, and racial tolerance to economic inequality, to cite a few, are going to impact today’s children.
But whether you or your child write, you’ll have to act fast. The Electoral College votes on Monday, December 19th, 2016. So your letters must arrive by Saturday December 17th, 2016 at the latest. Post offices are jammed with holiday mail. Which means, if you want to do this, do it very soon.
Admittedly, the odds are slim. On the other hand, many concerned citizens are wringing their hands, losing sleep, having anxiety attacks, checking out real estate in Canada, and wondering if Medicare will cover their medical costs, and if their kids or grandkids will have a safe world in which to live. Others are re-reading Orwell’s 1984, and wondering what “resistance” would mean in 21st century America.
Stabone offers easy to use templates for names, addresses and even a draft letter.
His draft letter argues that the real reason to make a plea to the Electoral College members is the nation’s founding fathers, including Alexander Hamilton, created the Electoral College precisely to protect the democracy “specifically to bar men like Donald Trump from the presidency.” He cites Hamilton’s Federalist Paper 68: “The process of election affords a moral certainty, that the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.” You can use his draft letter. But the point of the exercise is to reach out person to person, so the strongest suit would be to write a letter in your own words why you are asking them to vote their conscience.
This may be quixotic, and it is not clear how many letters would be enough. But some folks are desperate.
Stabone says it will take about two hours to print, sign, and stamp about 260 user-friendly letters from the DirectElection website. (There are templates for both letters and envelopes). If you send every one of them it will cost about $120. If for reasons of time or money, you want to only to a select number of the Trump-pledged electors listed on the site, you can search by state. “Just download the states whose electors you care the most about and write to those. (May we suggest Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Ohio?),” says Stabone.
Learn more about the Electoral College