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The Latest: Faithless elector explains vote for Sanders

December 19, 2016

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Latest on Minnesota electors gathering to cast their votes in the presidential contest (all times local):

1:35 p.m.

A Minnesota presidential elector who cast his ballot for Bernie Sanders, instead of Hillary Clinton, says he wanted to protest a state law requiring electors to follow the statewide vote.

Muhammad Abdurrahman became what’s known as a “faithless elector” after he turned in his ballot for Sanders in Monday’s vote at the state Capitol. Abdurrahman was a Sanders delegate at the Democratic National Convention.

His ballot was tossed and he was replaced by an alternate. A crowd of anti-Trump protesters urging electors to delay their vote cheered as Abdurrahman’s vote was invalidated.

Abdurrahman says state law requires following the statewide vote, but the Constitution doesn’t. He declined to answer other questions.

Abdurrahman is the state’s first faithless elector since 2004. That’s when an unidentified elector wrote John Edwards’ name on the ballot for president. Edwards was running mate to Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry that year.

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1:05 p.m.

Minnesota’s 10 presidential electors have cast their ballots for Hillary Clinton.

Clinton won the state and the electors were pledged to support her, but Monday’s vote at the Capitol wasn’t without minor drama. One elector, Muhammad Abdurrahman, declined to back Clinton.

He was immediately replaced by an alternate and the vote was quickly finalized. It wasn’t immediately clear why Abdurrahman didn’t support Clinton, but he was a Bernie Sanders delegate at the Democratic National Convention.

Monday’s meeting for electors nationwide triggered protests as some sought to deny Republican Donald Trump the 270 votes required for the presidency. Republican electors across the nation say they’ve been pressured to change their vote.

Clinton narrowly won Minnesota on Nov. 8, but dozens of anti-Trump protesters still attended Monday’s vote. The demonstrators warned of the dangers of a Trump presidency and frequently interrupted the proceedings to urge electors to delay their vote until electors receive a briefing on possible Russian meddling in the election.

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12:50 p.m.

A Minnesota elector has had his vote invalidated after declining to cast it for Hillary Clinton.

It wasn’t immediately clear why Muhammad Abdurrahman didn’t vote for Clinton as the state’s electors met at the Capitol. But he was a delegate for Bernie Sanders at the Democratic National Convention.

The electors are pledged to cast Minnesota’s 10 electoral votes for Clinton since she won the state.

Abdurrahman was immediately replaced by an alternate who later voted for Clinton.

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4 a.m.

A select few Minnesota residents are ready to cast their ballots as the Electoral College officially selects the next president.

Presidential electors will meet in St. Paul Monday to pledge the state’s 10 electoral votes to Hillary Clinton. Those electors will meet in an office building near the usual site inside the state Capitol, which is closed due to ongoing renovations.

It’s part of the formal process to choose the next president based upon nationwide voting results. Some Democrats upset with the Nov. 8 results have urged electors in states not to cast their ballot for Trump.

Minnesota voters narrowly broke for Clinton on Nov. 8, extending a 40-year streak of voting for Democrats. Democrats chose 10 people involved with the party to become presidential electors.