The phone calls, emails, and letters — some of them threatening — coming to Tucsonan Bruce Ash have become impossible for him to ignore.
The avalanche has grown as Monday draws closer. That’s the day when the country’s 538 Electoral College electors will gather in their respective states to cast their votes for president.
In Arizona, 11 electoral voters will gather at the state Capitol to cast their votes, likely for President-elect Donald Trump, who won 306 Electoral College votes, more than the 270 needed to be elected.
Ash, a Republican national committeeman and one of the electoral voters, has received more than 700 letters and 65,000 emails asking, demanding and, in some cases threatening, him to vote for any candidate other than Trump.
While the state does not require the electors, who were chosen by the Arizona Republican Party, to vote for Trump, all have stated in official documents they plan on voting for him.
Many of the messages are form letters in which the only things that are different are the senders’ names and email addresses.
Emails provided by the Arizona Republican Party revealed some identical messages sent from Tucson addresses.
One form letter quotes heavily from founding father Alexander Hamilton and argues that the Electoral College was designed to prevent someone like Trump from becoming president.
“You may in fact believe that Donald Trump would make a better president that Hillary Clinton or anyone else. But if you share my fear that Trump would weaken and shame our country then I encourage you to exercise the power granted to you by the Constitution and join the 156 ‘faithless’ electors in our nation’s history by putting country above party and blocking Donald Trump from the presidency,” the letter reads. “Hamilton would have wanted you to do so.”
One woman begged Republican electors in Arizona to vote either for Ohio Gov. John Kasich or former Republican nominee Mitt Romney.
Another letter from a couple in Oro Valley say they are Clinton supporters who believe Trump is too dangerous to be president.
“It is our belief that Mr. Trump is a danger to this country and temperamentally unsuited for the profound and nuanced decisions required of the office of the President of the United States,” the letter writes.
An online petition urging Electoral College voters to change their votes has nearly 5 million signatures.
Ash said the attempts to change his mind have only strengthened his resolve to vote for Trump.
Before the constant flood of emails crashed his computer server, Ash said he tried to respond to the emails, but many of those who wrote to him were unwilling to have a conversation — they wanted a result.
For electoral voter Alberto Gutier, director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, the messages have gotten nastier in the days leading up to Monday.
He counts the number of emails sent to his work email — 80,540. Twenty seconds later, and another six emails trickle in.
Gutier said people are even calling him in the late hours of the night to urge him to change his vote. Those trying to track him down have mistakenly begun sending letters to his son’s home — noting there is a box full of letters there.
He hasn’t read most of them — although one letter disguised as a Christmas card was opened .
Gutier, a refugee who fled with his wife from Cuba 56 years ago, says he wasn’t always a Trump supporter. The couple supported the son of Cuban refugees, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio before he dropped out of the presidential race.
Gutier said those trying to sway his vote should do something else with their energy, saying he is loyal to the president-elect.
“They are wasting their time,” he said, noting he backed Trump soon after Rubio ended his campaign. “We became Trump people, and we support Trump.”
The timing of the letters isn’t lost on him either, noting the amount spent on stamps could have bought hungry families meals or Christmas toys for children.
Robert Graham, chairman of the Arizona Republican Party, notes many of the people writing to the electors are asking them to vote their conscience.
And on Monday, he says, he expects all 11 electors in Arizona to do just that — by voting for Trump.
Contact reporter Joe Ferguson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-4197. On Twitter: @JoeFerguson