Electoral College Puts Bush Over the Top

ByABC News
December 18, 2000, 10:06 AM

Dec. 18 -- President-elect George W. Bush has gained every one of the 271 Electoral College votes he was due to receive today, as unyielding support from Republican electors has ensured his grasp on the White House.

Although the votes will not be officially tallied by Congress until Jan. 6, all the state delegations slated to vote for Bush announced the results of their ballots this afternoon.

Despite speculation that faithless electors might switch their votes to Democrat Al Gore, who won the popular vote, the Republican slate remained intact and gave Bush one more vote than he needed.

In fact, the sole elector to flip a vote today was a Gore supporter: Barbara Lett-Simmons, an elector in the District of Columbia. Lett-Simmons left a blank ballot in what she said was a means of protesting the Districts lack of congressional representation.

Taxation without representation is tyranny, said Lett-Simmons, adding that people could call her a faithless elector if they so chose.

It is the first time since 1988 an elector has not chosen the candidate he or she was elected to support.

Although Gore conceded the bitterly contested presidential election last Wednesday, members of the Electoral College did not meet until today to choose the next president.

I was told by somebody I could get a lot of money if I changedmy vote, said former Idaho Gov. Phil Batt, a Republican elector. But I didnt consider it for a number of reasons. One ofthem was the Lord would strike me dead and I wouldnt get a chanceto spend the money.

Smooth Sailing

Bush, the Republican candidate, won states giving him just 271 Electoral College votes to Gores 267. But Gore had indicated he would not accept the support of electors changing their votes.

Al Gore and I dont expect any surprises, the vice presidents running mate, Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, said today. Weve certainly renounced any effort to change any electoral votes.