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The real voting for the White House is now underway.

At 10 a.m. Monday, members of the Electoral College began casting their ballots in state capitals across the nation to make Donald Trump’s victory official.

The electoral votes will be officially counted on Jan. 6, 2017, when Congress returns. Vice President Joe Biden will preside over the count.


After a fraught election, calls have emerged for electors to vote against their state results. Heightening the tension in recent weeks has been that Clinton actually won the popular vote by about 3 million ballots nationwide — making Trump the worst-performing winner in the popular vote since 1876.

Protests had popped up around the country Monday as frustrated Americans sought one last opportunity to stop the candidate they opposed.

What if the electors change their votes?

Despite calls from Democratic leaders and voters, and more than 4.9 million signatures to change their votes against Trump, mass defections of electors would be extremely unlikely.

Thirty-seven of Trump’s pledged 306 electors would have to vote against him, becoming so-called “faithless electors,” to keep him under the 270 threshold to become President.

If Clinton were to reach 270 in that far-fetched scenario, she could become President. If no candidate reaches 270, the House of Representatives would hold a vote when Congress reconvenes in January.

Lawmakers can technically object — in writing, with objections signed by at least one House and one Senate member — to individual electoral votes or entire states’ results. If the House and Senate support that objection, the vote or votes in question are thrown out.

But that has never happened.

The most likely scenario

The 538 men and women will be voting primarily in accordance with the results from November in their state. The electors, chosen by state parties of the candidate who carried each state, will convene in all 50 state capitals and the District of Columbia.

When all the votes were counted from November, the President-elect won 306 electoral votes to Clinton’s 232. It is expected that Trump will reach the 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House some time this afternoon.

While electors are technically chosen to independently cast their ballots for president, both precedent and, in most cases, state laws require them to abide by the people’s vote in each state.

There have been a handful of faithless electors in past cycles, though never enough to change the outcome of the race. One Texas elector has said he will not vote for Trump.

What’s next?

While Trump has claimed he won in a landslide victory, that description is inaccurate. He is expected to garner just 56.9 percent of the electoral vote, assuming all electors vote according to their states’ results.

That will give Trump the 44th-largest share of the electoral vote out of 54 presidential elections since the modern system started in 1804.

Once all the electoral votes are counted, Trump will be officially set for his inauguration at noon on Jan. 20, 2017.