LANSING (WWJ) – Following last month’s presidential election, a 22-year-old Electoral College voter from Michigan says he’s been getting death threats to change his vote — or else.
Michael Banerian, an Oakland University student and youth vice chairman of the Michigan Republican party, says he has filed a police report over the threats.
“I’ve had people say stuff like ‘I’m going to put a bullet in the back of your mouth.’ Then, you just get general death wishes of ‘I hope you die,’ or ‘do society a favor and throw yourself in front of a bus,'” Banerian told WWJ’s Jason Scott. “I’ve been inundated with dozens and dozens of emails, letters to my home, on Twitter, Facebook, asking me to change my vote.”
When it comes down to it, Banerian said the threats he’s received are “a direct result” of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s rhetoric over the past year of her campaign.
“Hillary Clinton chose to call Republicans and Donald Trump supporters not just deplorable but irredeemably so. She chose to say that the enemy she was most proud of was Republicans. She not only demonized Republicans but they (the Democratic party) dehumanized us,” he said. “So, they made it easy for large groups of people on the left to then treat us like this, to send us death threats and think that that’s OK and somehow not hypocritical.”
Even the messages that didn’t wish his death were hateful, Banerian said, toward Republicans and anyone who offers support to Donald Trump.
“It’s just really unfortunate because that’s really not what American politics is supposed to be about,” he said. “We should be able to get along, agree to disagree, and not have to resort to death threats and this kind of language between each other.”
If Banerian wanted to change his vote, which he tells WWJ he doesn’t, there are laws preventing him from doing so.
“It’s funny, these threats and people sending these emails and messages trying to get us to change our votes are just useless,” said Banerian. “In the state of Michigan, we have faithless elector laws and what they essentially say is that if I attempt at any time to change my vote different from how the popular vote chose in the election, I’ll just be removed, my vote would be voided and I’ll be replaced by another elector.”
Banerian will gather with Michigan’s 15 other electors on December 19 in Lansing to officially cast their vote for the presidency.
“I’m not completely sure how that vote takes place, I think it might be a voice vote and then we have to sign an affidavit, or something like that,” he said. “And then from there, the governor takes those votes, approves them and sends them to Washington. On a day where all these votes are collected, the vice president of the United States reads off every single vote and officially tallies them in the U.S. Congress in a joint session.”
As far as the death threats are concerned, Banerian said he’s not letting “these bullies” affect his life. A police investigation remains open.