Supreme Court to tackle issue of “faithless electors”

  • 22 January 2020
  • NormanL

For all the left’s posturing and complaining against the Electoral College, it’s the Supreme Court that is actually looking into a long simmering problem that has genuine consequences for the integrity of presidential elections:

The Supreme Court said…it will decide ahead of the 2020 election whether presidential electors are bound to support the popular vote winner in their states or can opt for someone else.

Advocates for the court’s intervention say the issue needs urgent resolution in an era of intense political polarization and the prospect of a razor-thin margin in a presidential election, although so-called faithless electors have been a footnote so far in American history.

The roots of the case under review reach back to the 2016 Trump-Clinton presidential race:

Three Hillary Clinton electors in Washington state and one in Colorado refused to vote for her despite her popular vote win in both states. In so doing, they hoped to persuade enough electors in states won by Donald Trump to choose someone else and deny Trump the presidency.

The federal appeals court in Denver ruled that electors can vote as they please, rejecting arguments that they must choose the popular vote winner. In Washington, the state Supreme Court upheld a $1,000 fine against the three electors and rejected their claims.

In all, there were 10 faithless electors in 2016, including a fourth in Washington, a Democratic elector in Hawaii and two Republican electors in Texas. In addition, Democratic electors who said they would not vote for Clinton were replaced in Maine and Minnesota.

In asking the Supreme Court to rule that states can require electors to vote for the state winner, Colorado urged the justices to decide the case in the next few months, “not in the heat of a close presidential election.”

We’ll leave to the Supreme Court experts to unravel the conflicting claims in this case. But one thing we are sure of: maintaining the Electoral College’s integrity should be a top responsibility for federal and state officials.