Hillary Clinton’s lead in the U.S. presidential election popular vote now stands at more than 1.7 million, despite the Democrat losing the overall election to Donald Trump, The Independent said on Tuesday.
With the last remaining ballots being counted, Clinton so far has 63.6 million votes compared to 61.9 million for her Republican rival. It means she has received more votes than any other U.S. presidential candidate in history except Barack Obama.
The Democrat has received 48 per cent of votes counted so far compared to Trump’s 46.7 per cent.
However, Clinton's sizeable lead in the public vote has little bearing on the result of the election because she lost the Electoral College tally that ultimately determines who becomes President.
The Republican won the Electoral College after taking the battleground states of Florida, Ohio and North Carolina and unexpectedly snatching victory in states, such as Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, that had previously been part of the Democrat’s “firewall”
of safe states.
The other candidates in the election, Jill Stein of the Green Party and the Libertarian's Gary Johnson, picked up more than 7 million votes between them. Had those votes instead gone to Hillary Clinton, she would likely have won the presidency.
The votes still being counted almost two weeks after polling day are a combination of postal votes and ballots cast by people whose voting eligibility could not be verified on election day.
The victory for a candidate who received fewer votes than his rival has led 4.5 million people to sign a petition calling on the delegates that each state sends to vote in the Electoral College to defy the instructions given to them by the electorate in their state.
There have been 157 of these so-called “faithless electors”
throughout history but they have never overturned an election result and it is unlikely to happen this year.
The petition states: “Secretary Clinton won the popular vote and should be President. The only reason Trump ‘won’ is because of the Electoral College.”“But the Electoral College can actually give the White House to either candidate. So why not use this most undemocratic of our institutions to ensure a democratic result?”
The result has also fuelled calls for the Electoral College system to be abolished and replaced with a entirely first-past-the-post system. Clinton is the fourth presidential candidate in history to lose the presidency despite winning the popular vote.
Trump himself had previously called the electoral college “a disaster for democracy”
after mistakenly thinking that Barack Obama had lost the public vote in 2012 but retained the presidency.