Protesters rallied around the country Monday in a last-ditch effort to prevent President-elect Donald Trump from taking office.
A coalition of progressive groups organized the “December 19” protests throughout the day at state capitols. Demonstrators hope to appeal to members of the Electoral College, who meet Monday to cast their votes for president.
“We will be there to remind them of their Constitutional duty to deliberate, vote their conscience, and stop Donald Trump,” organizers said on a Facebook event page.
Twelve protesters were arrested for blocking traffic outside the state capitol in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, ahead of the state’s Electoral College meeting, according to PennLive.
Protesters gathered in other states as well, including Michigan, Virginia, Utah and Texas.
Trump would receive 306 Electoral College votes if election results stand. To win, a candidate needs a majority of electoral college votes, or 270.
For weeks, there have been calls for electors to “vote their conscience” and select anyone other than Trump as president, fueled by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton winning an overwhelming majority of the popular vote and allegations of Russian interference in the election.
A group of celebrities made a video appealing to electors, saying anyone who broke their pledge to vote against Trump would go down in history as an “American hero.” An online petition amassed 4.9 million signatures.
Though faithless electors would be breaking the law in some states, a Harvard Law School professor spearheaded an effort to offer them legal services, and activist Michael Moore promised to pay any fees they incur for refusing to vote for Trump.
Moore has been one of the most vocal backers of the protests.
“This needs protest, this needs people’s voices,” Moore told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes in an interview this weekend. “Don’t say to yourself, ‘Well, what’s the use? How do we ― nothing’s going to happen.’ You don’t know that. You don’t know that. That’s why we have to keep fighting. We have to fight all the way to Inauguration Day and then be ready for them to start the day after the inauguration passing law after law after law.”
Protesters also gathered and held candlelight vigils in some states Sunday.
One Republican elector, Christopher Suprun of Texas, said earlier this month that he would not vote for Trump. However, no others have joined him publicly, and there’s little reason to believe that enough electors will withhold votes from Trump to change the election results. AP interviews with more than 330 electors found “little appetite for revolt.”