Fed Court: Presidential electors can vote as they wish

A court ruling just changed how we pick our president

Tweet from WH in 3… 2… 1–

I guess it wasn’t good enough that the candidate with the most votes lost the last election. That wasn’t safe enough. Lets take another step away from the voice of the people mattering to our “democracy”. Are we still calling it a democracy?
Although, this sounds like an unpredictable case of “be careful what you ask for”.

Given that this was clearly the original intent of having Electors in the first place, laws requiring them to vote as their state directed were always kinda questionable, IMHO.

But if the Electors were ever going to be a deliberative body in its choice of President, the time for that was December 2016. Having failed that moment, we really need a Constitutional amendment that takes Electors out of the picture, and reduces Electoral Votes to no more than a system of tallying the results.

And YES, I KNOW that we could really use a much more substantial reform than this: I’m all for electing the President by direct popular vote. BUT an amendment to get rid of the Electors themselves might actually stand a chance of passage, while any amendment with an apparent benefit to one party or the other would not.

Well, I’d argue, ThelmaLou, that this changes how we elect our presidents in any way. There have always been faithless electors. It’s a basic part of the process. Courts have ruled that states can require a pledge to vote a certain way but have never ruled that they are required to actually VOTE that way. I’d guess this ruling just affirms that fact.

Hell the first faithless elector goes back to the 1796 election, I believe. Looking, yeah. Samuel Miles voted Jefferson instead of his pledged Adams in 1796. Looking at it, it looks like it was a complicated time.

I’m confused. I thought that following the 2016 November election there was a whole host of people calling for the EC to act to prevent an unfit person becoming president. From this outsider’s perspective it sounded very much like an unused practice EC voters could, but hadn’t, use. I take it that wasn’t the case?

The difference appears to be that presently the votes of so-called “faithless electors” can be discarded and not counted. From my quote: “It hasn’t been much of an issue in American political history because when an elector refuses to follow the results of a state’s popular vote, the state simply throws the ballot away. But Tuesday’s ruling says states cannot do that.”

The reason I expect objections from the WH (and likely from Uncle Mitch) is that anything that diminishes or appears to diminish control over electors is sumpin’ the Pubbies aren’t gonna like. Mitch like everyone on a short leash. With a choke collar.

Good post, and I agree with pretty much all of it. There’s no question that faithless electors are a horrifying prospect, but like it or not, it’s part of the original constitution, and that mechanism has never been changed.

It’s inevitable: there will one day be a day when the nightmare scenario happens, and I suspect that day will come sooner than we think. But imagine the fallout if, say, Donald Trump lost on election night but managed to bribe a handful of electors into changing their votes. He wouldn’t even need to get them to switch to Trump; he could just bribe enough of them to vote for a write-in candidate or a third party candidate. He bribes them with some money up front, and then completes the bribe by offering electors political positions. then the election goes to the House, where the House, with a state delegation majority, votes for Trump. Imagine a race in which 55% of the country votes for a Democratic candidate, and yet the Republican loser wins the presidency. We’re a lot closer to this moment than people realize.

How do, or did, Colorado Democrats choose their electors who will appear on the ballot and how did the Baca guy fall through the cracks? I guess I don’t really understand the mechanics of our convoluted system.

Yeah, states that undermined the independence of electors have always been acting illegally. So what?

The EC is about the dumbest possible system for voting, but like other laws, we can’t just decide not to follow the law. That’s Trumpism.

In the future, all one needs to do to become president will be having the financial resources to buy off 270 electors. Or more realistically, either party starts off with 200 guaranteed electors and then they just have to buy 70 more. So we celebrate a Biden win next November, only to find out the Republican elite have bought enough electors to give us four more years of tweets and kleptocracy.

The electoral college reflected the values and prevailing attitudes of the time, notably the belief among free, property-owning, wealthy elite white males that political power must remain in the hands of the elite class because the lower rungs of society are inherently unqualified to manage self-governance. While there may be some truth to the notion that democracy invites many unqualified citizens to participate, there is no evidence that an aristocratic class is capable of governing in the interests of broader society. Moreover, the EC, like other aspects of the original constitution, is squarely at odds with our modern social and political values and our understanding of what a modern democratic and egalitarian society ought to look like.

But I don’t see anything or anyone changing it until the system breaks, and maybe that’s really what’s happening right now, and maybe that’s what Trumpism truly represents: the disintegration of the American republic as it has been defined by the Enlightenment era constitution. So perhaps it is the case that the system must first fail incontrovertibly in the eyes of the average person before there can be sufficient critical mass needed to transform America from an Enlightenment republic into something more advanced.

It almost happened that way in 2000. In the last week or two before the election, Bush’s team was more worried about winning the popular vote and losing the electoral vote than the other way around. And his team was prepared to launch a campaign to persuade electors to switch their votes to ratify the will of the people. New York Daily News, Nov. 1, 2000:

Another thing that almost happened in 2000 was that, while the Florida outcome was being debated in the courts, the GOP-controlled Florida legislature considered meeting to choose a GOP slate of electors by fiat.

Since each state has the authority to determine how to choose its electors, really the only question would have been, is it kosher for them to change the rules after Election Day just because they didn’t like the popular outcome? I could easily see a Supreme Court like the one we’ve got supporting a GOP legislature that overruled the vote in this manner.

Tru dat!

The linked article also says:

Two courts with differing decisions. Plop. Right in the laps of the Supreme Court.

And then there’s this:

This is why so many people hate and distrust the law.

I believe the state can still punish them, but their vote stands, which makes sense.

No, they can still throw them into prison for life for accepting bribes.

Do you expect the government that wins because of this to pursue such a case?

Sure, can’t you just imagine William Barr just jumping all over this? Well, if his side was losing maybe.

The State government, not the Feds.

It may not fall under their jurisdiction. Once the elector is chosen it is out of their hands-presuming the bribery happens after that, it would then be a Federal case.