Supreme Court says states can punish “faithless electors”

On July 6, all nine Supreme Court justices unanimously ruled that states can punish electoral college voters who refuse to cast their votes for the presidential candidates they have pledged to support.

Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan wrote: “The constitution’s text and the nation’s history both support allowing a state to enforce an elector’s pledge to support his party’s nominee — and the state voters’ choice — for president.”

Joshua Ang Price, a Filipino American election commissioner in Arkansas, says the unanimous ruling makes voters’ selection more secure, and protects trust in electors.

“It makes the voter’s selection more secure. As a voter, I would hate that my state cast, the majority of our votes per se, Joe Biden and the electors decided to go rogue and vote for President Trump and give all of our electoral votes to President Trump instead. That would be a breach of trust of the public so i think having this protection in place is great for the voters. It lets them know that if this is who your state voted for, that your electors will follow suit.”

The issue was brought on by two cases from Washington state and Colorado.

Electoral college delegates there refused to back Hillary Clinton in 2016 presidential election, despite her wins in those states.

Clinton got nearly 3 million more votes than Donald Trump.

But Trump won the presidency with more electoral college votes.

There have been four times in U.S. history that the winner of the popular vote lost in the electoral college. The first two were in the 1800s. The other in the 2000 presidential election.

Al Gore got a million more votes, but George W. Bush won with five more electoral college votes.

Price said the system is not perfect but it prevents a few states with big populations to end up choosing the next president.

“The way the electoral college works, every state has a certain number of electors and whatever candidate wins that state, the popular vote, all of those electoral votes go to that candidate. So it gives it away for some smaller states with less population to still be able to have a vote that still makes a little bit more of an impact.”

This Supreme Court ruling brought a big relief to election experts. They worried that if ‘faithless electors’ were allowed to get away with refusing to vote for the candidates they pledged to support, then the 2020 election would have turned into a free-for-all.

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  • Mario
    7 July 2020 at 1:53 am - Reply

    SUPREME Court says that US Presidential Candidate should be decided only on ELECTORAL COLLEGE, never on popular votes. This is the geniuses of our founding father. In a popular vote, a Pres candidate can win by just campaigning on heavily populated 4-5 States, like California, NYork, Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. If a Prez is elected via POPULAR votes, like in PH, the Prez will spend the Federal budget or pork barrel only on these 5 big States, never mind helping the other 45 States, and you can still be re-elected. In Electoral College there are 538 Congressman or electoral votes/district, you are required to win over 270 votes. TRUMP got 304 and HC got 227. But HC won over 3M, on popular votes. Trump focus on small States with 3-4 electoral votes like Agricultural State. HC never visited any Agri-State, focus in CA and NY.