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The Electoral College formalized Donald Trump’s election victory on Monday despite protests around the country to encourage GOP electors to abandon the Republican.
The president-elect easily racked up the 270 electoral votes needed to send him to the White House. Interest in the normally mundane voting process spiked this year as opposition to Trump continues to fester, fueled by Clinton’s success in capturing over 2.6 million more votes than her Republican opponent.
"Today marks a historic electoral landslide victory in our nation's democracy," Trump said in a statement. "I thank the American people for their overwhelming vote to elect me as their next President of the United States."
He added, "this election represents a movement that millions of hard working men and women all across the country stood behind and made possible. With this historic step we can look forward to the bright future ahead. I will work hard to unite our country and be the President of all Americans.”
Anti-Trump protesters descended on state capitols throughout the U.S. in a last-ditch effort to persuade so-called “faithless electors” in states Trump won to change their vote. Many of the Republicans casting ballots said they were inundated with calls and emails urging them to dump Trump.
And some electors did break with how their state voted, albeit in unexpected ways. In Washington, a state Clinton won by 16 points, the former secretary of state received just eight of the state’s 12 electoral votes. Colin Powell received three votes and Native American tribal leader Faith Spotted Eagle received one as part of an effort to promote a candidate other than Trump.
An elector in both Maine and Minnesota attempted to cast a ballot for Bernie Sanders, who unsuccessfully challenged Clinton in the Democratic primary. However state laws requiring electors to follow the statewide vote invalidated both efforts.
Only one Republican elector, Christopher Suprun of Texas, publically pledged not to vote for Trump despite his state heavily favoring the president-elect last month. One other Texas elector also abandoned Trump in the final vote.
An Associated Press survey of the electoral college’s 538 members found there was little interest from members in breaking from voting how their states did. Thirty-seven electors would have needed to defect from Trump to endanger him from winning.
The Electoral College met in all fifty states and Washington, D.C. on Monday. Congress will certify the results on Jan. 6 and the president will be inaugurated Jan. 20.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.