Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton
Online petition urges Electoral College to choose Clinton over Trump; will it work? [Representational image]Reuters

An online petition by an individual purportedly from North Carolina, urging the US Electoral College to choose Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump for President when they vote to make the choice on December 19, has garnered well over three million signatures. The move comes amid anti-Trump protesters continuing to take to the streets against him.

There are a variety of fears that surround a presidency by Donald Trump, not the least of which is backlash at Muslims, who have openly said they are afraid. There is also an argument going around that Trump should not be President because he has not won the popular vote: Clinton has more votes than him, but Trump has more people in the Electoral College.

Now, it is this Electoral College that the online petition on is looking to appeal to. The petition, started by one Elijah Berg of North Carolina, is looking to garner 4.5 million signatures to drive the point home. The cause already has more than 3 million signatures, the equivalent of one percent of the total population of the US.

The petition says: "On December 19, the Electors of the Electoral College will cast their ballots. If they all vote the way their states voted, Donald Trump will win. However, they can vote for Hillary Clinton if they choose. Even in states where that is not allowed, their vote would still be counted, they would simply pay a small fine - which we can be sure Clinton supporters will be glad to pay! [sic]"

It goes on to add: "We are calling on the Electors to ignore their states' votes and cast their ballots for Secretary Clinton. Why? Mr. Trump is unfit to serve. His scapegoating of so many Americans, and his impulsivity, bullying, lying, admitted history of sexual assault, and utter lack of experience make him a danger to the Republic. Secretary Clinton WON THE POPULAR VOTE and should be President. [sic]"

Berg may definitely manage to reach his goal of 4.5 million signatures, but it may not be enough to cause a turnaround in the ranks of the Electoral College. However, stranger things have happened, and it remains to be seen if Berg manages to make the voters in the Electoral College have a change of heart.

What is the Electoral College?

The average US citizen does not directly elect the President. Instead, they elect their representatives who will in turn elect the President. These representatives are collectively known as the Electoral College. The norm is, whichever presidential candidate has more supporters in the Electoral College becomes the President irrespective of the popular vote — the total number of votes all the supporters of the candidate in the Electoral College has received.

In the current case Clinton has received a bigger share of the popular vote, but fewer supporters in the Electoral College, meaning the college will elect Trump as President. The online petition urges the college to not do so, and even offers to pay the fine if they vote against the President-elect.