An Open Letter to the Electors

Albert Kaufman

This letter was in a variety of papers across the country today, December 14th, 2016

Esteemed Electors:

We, a bipartisan coalition of Americans including Electors, scholars, officials, and concerned citizens write to you in the spirit of fellowship, out of our sense of patriotism, and with great urgency.

There are times in the life of a nation when extraordinary circumstances call for extraordinary measures. Now is a such time, and your courage and leadership are required.

Never in our Republic’s history has there been a President-apparent comparable to Donald Trump. His inauguration would present a grave and continual threat to the Constitution, to domestic tranquility, and to international stability:

He has threatened the freedom of speech by condoning violence at public events, and suggesting criminal penalties and even revocation of citizenship to punish political expression; He has threatened the freedom of press by vowing to revoke First Amendment protections for journalists; He has threatened the freedom of religion by proposing to bar entry to the country and force the registration of members of certain faiths; He has entangled himself with foreign interests through his personal business dealings, and refused to provide records of his taxes, which could allay suspicions; He has indicated a willingness to condone torture, in contravention of the Constitution and our international treaties, which carry the force of law; He is uncomfortably close to the regime of Russia, which has interfered in the election; He has shown reckless disregard for diplomacy, communicating impulsively, in public forums, regarding matters of national security, and allowing personal emotions to interfere with reasoned judgment, calling into question his fitness as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and the nuclear capabilities of the United States; He has, unlike every previous Commander-in-Chief, never served in any public position, whether elected or appointed, civilian or military, thereby bringing no experience or proven judgment on behalf of The People, or evidence of a character suited to high office. For these reasons, his assumption of office endangers the Constitution, the freedoms it protects, and the continued prosperity and welfare of the United States.

You, Electors, possess the power to prevent this outcome. You are not bound to cast your vote for the candidate of your party – and, as he won neither a majority nor even a plurality of the popular vote, there can be no question of undermining the will of The People.

The Constitution empowers Electors to exercise judgment and choice. If your role were only ceremonial, our Founders would not have required the states to elect you, or that you cast ballots by your own hand. State laws notwithstanding, you are free to vote your conscience. You have a mandate, like all officials, to protect and defend the Constitution. And you have the right and responsibility to investigate those who stand for this office, and to deliberate before casting your vote.

We place country before party in imploring you, our fellow Americans, to investigate and deliberate. We stand with you as you exercise your conscience and give profound consideration to the consequences of your vote. We affirm your right and your duty to do so free from intimidation, and urge you to cast your ballot for a person with the temperament, integrity and commitment to Constitutional principles necessary in a President.

In doing so, know that you enjoy the support of millions of Americans.

Thank you for your service to our country.

This letter was published in the Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, Austin American-Statesman, Salt Lake City Tribune and Tampa Bay Times on December 14, 2016.

It will be published in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Wisconsin State Journal on December 15, 2016.

Letter to Electors is a project of Democracy and Progress PAC and the Electoral College Petition.


Daniel Brezenoff Author Democracy and Progress

Bret Chiafalo Washington State Elector

Michael Baca Colorado Elector

Beth Caldwell Washington State Elector Former Attorney, Office for Civil Rights, US Department of Education Co-Founder, Metastatic Exchange to Unleash Power

Leora Auslander, Ph.D. Professor of Modern European Social History and Arthur and Joann Rasmussen Professor of Western Civilization College and the Department of History, The University of Chicago

Sahar F. Aziz, M.A., J.D. Professor of Law, Texas A&M University School of Law Former Senior Policy Advisor, Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Randall Balmer, M.Div, Ph.D John Phillips Professor in Religion Dartmouth College

Sotirios A. Barber, Ph.D Professor of Political Science, University of Notre Dame

Deborah Barnbaum, Ph.D Professor and Chair of Philosophy Kent State University

Khaled A. Beydoun, M.A., J.D. Associate Professor of Law, University of Detroit Mercy School of Law Affiliated Faculty, Islamophobia Research & Documentation Project Center on Race & Gender, University of California, Berkeley

Mark Philip Bradley, Ph.D Bernadotte E. Schmitt Professor of History The University of Chicago

Mark B. Brown, Ph.D. Professor, Department of Government California State University, Sacramento

Matthew J. Brown, Ph.D. Director, Center for Values in Medicine, Science, and Technology Associate Professor of Philosophy and History of Ideas The University of Texas at Dallas

Rev. Dr. Walter Brueggemann Columbia Theological Seminary

Arthur Caplan, Ph.D Drs. William F. and Virginia Connolly Mitty Professor Founding head, Division of Bioethics New York University Langone Medical Center

The Honorable David N. Dinkins, LL.B 106th Mayor of New York City Professor in the Practice of Urban Public Policy School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University

Mary L. Dudziak, J.D., Ph.D Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Law Emory University School of Law

Laura K. Field, Ph.D Professorial Lecturer, School of International Service Associate Faculty, School of Public Affairs Political Theory Institute American University

Jamal Greene, J.D. Dwight Professor of Law Columbia Law School

Janet Halley, J.D., Ph.D Royall Professor of Law Harvard Law School

Daniel J. Hicks, Ph.D Policy Fellow American Association for the Advancement of Science

Steve Hiltz, Ph.D Lecturer in Philosophy Southern Methodist University

Jean Kazez, Ph.D Adjunct Assistant Professor Southern Methodist University

Craig J. Konnoth, J.D., M.Phil Sharswood Fellow & Lecturer in Law, Penn Law School Senior Fellow, Leonard Davis Institute for Health Economics, University of Pennsylvania

Daniel J. Levine, Ph.D Assistant Professor of Political Science The University of Alabama

Sanford V. Levinson, J.D., Ph.D St. John Garwood and W. St. John Garwood, Jr. Centennial Chair in Law Professor of Government The University of Texas at Austin

Timothy Patrick McCarthy, Ph.D Lecturer on History and Literature and on Public Policy Program Director, Carr Center for Human Rights Harvard University

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