Donald Trump has obtained the required 270 electoral votes to become president.
Although electors in dozens of states still have to vote, the electoral balloting in Texas put Trump over the majority threshold, according to a state-by-state tally by the Associated Press. Thirty-six of the state’s electors voted for Trump, one for John Kasich and one for Ron Paul.
The next, and last, official step in the electoral process is for Congress to count the votes. Under the procedure set out by the 12th Amendment to the Constitution, that formal process is scheduled for Jan. 6.
Some anti-Trump activists had hoped against hope that they could persuade electors in states that voted for Trump to defect, but their efforts were unsuccessful.
Electors are nearly all party loyalists. Additionally, they faced more than two centuries of tradition and, in some states, legal obligations that called for them to cast their ballots according to which candidate won the popular vote in their states. No defectors have ever changed the result of a presidential election.
Four electors today successfully defected in Washington state. Instead of voting for Hillary Clinton, who won the state’s popular vote, three electors voted for former secretary of State Colin Powell and one voted for Faith Spotted Eagle, an environmental activist. Electors in two other states who tried to vote against the state’s winner were replaced with alternates. There may be additional defections in the remaining states, but since Trump now has a majority of the electoral votes, those would not be enough to change the result.