The United States Supreme Court will hear arguments soon in Colorado’s “faithless electors” case, after the state in October appealed a federal court ruling that said that presidential electors could back whichever candidate they choose no matter the popular vote of a state.
Is an Electoral College elector required to vote who their State voter’s elect? An interesting Supreme Court case coming up that will test the meddle of our Supremes. The main issue here is that some states are trying to force electors to vote based on totals outside their states. That is what the states must be blocked from doing.
In 2016 we had wayward electors and a Colorado appeals court ruled in their favor. Twenty-two States support the Colorado ruling. Thus the Supremes now will decide the fate of our Republic.
What states can do, is decide if they are winner-take-all states, split vote states, or perhaps even vote by district states. Take Maine in 2016 and why Trump decided at the last moment he would try and snag a delegate or two.
Maine is one of only two states (Nebraska is the other) that doesn’t divvy out its electoral college votes on a winner-take-all basis.
Maine and Nebraska have adapted a different approach. Using the ‘congressional district method’, these states allocate two electoral votes to the state popular vote winner, and then one electoral vote to the popular vote winner in each Congressional district (2 in Maine, 3 in Nebraska). This creates multiple popular vote contests in these states, which could lead to a split electoral vote.
Most states are winner-take-all, and in that case an elector can be fined for not voting they way the most voters in the state want. If a state wants to be able to split their votes, they can do that too, and the electors are free to vote based on the result in their district. But in all these cases the electors are voting based on the will of those within their state. That is the purpose of elections, to represent the will of the people in each state.
There will be “chaos” in the 2020 presidential election if the Supreme Court decides that states cannot require Electoral College electors to vote for the candidate their voters select, warns an analysis by two legal scholars.
“The timing could not be worse,” wrote Paul M. Smith and Adav Noti, both of the non-profit Campaign Legal Center, which filed a brief in support of states in two cases.
In the two cases – Chiafalo v. Washington and Colorado Department of State v. Baca – a designated Electoral College elector chose not to vote for the candidate that earned the most popular votes in the state. The electors were replaced and were sued.
According to the Constitution, voters in presidential elections actually choose a preferred slate of electors rather than a candidate.
And they would be targeted by people with nefarious goals, warned Smith and Noti.
“Here’s the scary part: Of the four most important federal anti-corruption laws, not one covers presidential electors,” they wrote. “Electors can accept unlimited amounts of money in connection with their official duties. And they don’t even need to tell anyone.”
Historically, the writers acknowledge, “most electors have been faithful to their states’ voters, even when not legally required to do so.”
Colorado appealed a lower-court ruling that favored elector Michael Baca. The court concluded the state’s presidential electors are not required to follow state rules and vote for the presidential candidate who received the most votes in the state.
“One of the purposes of the Electoral College is to prevent a demagogue from taking office,” Baca said, referring to one of Alexander Hamilton’s contributions to the Federalist Papers. “And that’s what I tried to do.”
Twenty-two other states have expressed support for Colorado’s ruling.
The Associated Press reported there were 10 faithless electors in 2016, with four in Washington state, a Democratic elector in Hawaii and two Republican electors in Texas. Democratic electors who said they would not vote for Clinton were replaced in Maine and Minnesota.
The Framers left the door open for various election frauds by allowing States to determine various iterations of how an election for national offices can be carried out. This one could be a doozy.
Other than this, all is doing well in the swamp.