What if faithless electors changed the winner of an election?

A better analogy would have been the Commissioner stepping in while the play was being reviewed upstairs, terminating the review because it might call the ruling on the field into question, and saying “the ruling on the field stands.”

Back to the thread topic, it’s worth remembering that as the 2000 election got close, the Bush team was aware that they might win the popular vote and lose in the EC. And they had a plan to persuade electors to change their votes in order to ratify the popular vote.

Of course, exactly the reverse happened, which suddenly made the EC sacrosanct on the right side of the political spectrum.

Huh? The first recount was also stopped, with a little help from a bunch of young RNC operatives who came down to Florida and threw a riot right outside where the recount was taking place.

Sure, Florida was going to keep on trying to have a recount, until they actually completed one. But they never got the chance.

I don’t understand this. In 2000, Gore won the popular vote, and you say that it would have been fine if the electoral college went for Gore. But the college did not, they voted for Bush.

Does that mean that both Gore and Bush, in your view, were equally legitimate winners of the 2000 election?

I think it depends on the situation, and I’ll use this year’s candidates just for the sake of example. Let’s say that everything goes forward as it looks and we have Trump and Clinton (or Cruz/Sanders if you prefer, though I think it’s statistically less likely to happen, this scenario is intended to include one of the non-establishment candidates from either party) in the general and it ends up at 270-268 for Trump/Sanders (let’s say he wins the popular vote too, just to eliminate that factor). However, for the sake of example, there’s a conspiracy by the party to keep Trump/Sanders out of office, even if it means the other party wins, and one or two of his electors were chosen in states without faithless elector laws, or very weak ones, and they change to Clinton/Cruz. In either case, I think perhaps even many Clinton/Cruz fans, not to mention those who were holding their noses and voting for them, would be furious and all kinds of bad things would happen, quite possibly actual riots because the obvious will of the people had been circumvented using loopholes. I think we’d even likely see serious changes in one or both major parties, depending on which party screwed who.

OTOH, I could see a faithless elector being seen as possibly even a hero. Imagine we get a third party spoiler this election, running on the conspiracy theory that perhaps Trump wins the election and the Republican establishment runs, for the sake of discussion, Romney. The intention would be that he would, obviously, split a lot of votes away from Trump, seeing the worst cast scenario there that Clinton wins, and the best case that no one gets enough EC votes to get a majority, so we end up with something like 269-200-69 in favor of Clinton. Maybe an elector, rather than sending it to the House, knowing that they’d pick whoever they want, decides that it’s pretty clear that the Democratic candidate was the mandate of the people and would rather fit that than let the Republican establishment House coronate whomever they please. So he changes his vote from Trump to the Democratic candidate. Hell, if something like this did happen, I’d not be shocked if Trump actually asked his electors to be faithless to prevent the establishment that set out to screw him from handpicking the president. If that were the case, at least from my perspective, I’d see that person, maybe not as a hero, but at least as someone with their intention in the right place.

That just shifts the problem – if the first count of the vote is 50.501% incumbent and 49.499% challenger you have the exact same situation (the outcome hinges on a tiny error or small local finagle) as you would with no special rule and 50.001%/49.999%.

So, just like every other election, then.

Which would be appropriate if the refs had already reviewed the play, but a guy in the stands with a cell phone says, “Hey, I got a better angle and it shows the call should be overturned!” so the ref starts reviewing the cell phone footage.

The Florida Supreme Court decided that the rules were less important than getting the correct outcome, which admittedly, was Al Gore winning the election. And SCOTUS might have violated the rules themselves by interfering in a state court decision under which they may not have had jurisdiction. Ugly situation all around.

Gore was the only legitimate winner based on what we know happened. Not even for the popular vote, but because it’s clear that a lot of voters mistakenly voted for Buchanan in Palm Beach. The popular vote and the presence of Nader in the race adds more to the case for Gore, although neither would be enough in themselves.

Of course, under the law as written, Bush was the winner. But the electors can overturn that and if there was ever a justifiable time to do so, that would have been the time. I’d argue that if the Founders were alive they probably would have said that this was an ideal purpose for the EC and that they were better suited to make that decision than SCOTUS.

In your analogy, who was the guy in the stands?

And this is based on what, exactly?

I was prepared for your question.:smiley:

0.5% doesn’t have to be the margin, it could be 1% or 0.1%. We should employ some science and determine at what point a margin is big enough that a recount can’t possibly overturn the result. If one candidate is ahead of another by 0.51%, and the historical statistics of recounts shows us that the candidate ahead will nearly always win, then we don’t need to employ a tiebreaker rule. The tiebreaker rule would only be for results so close that a recount wouldn’t be reliable. Because they aren’t. If you count ten times, you’ll get ten different results. Unless errors are known about during the first count, or ballots were missing, a recount is no more accurate than the first count. Recounts only create hard feelings, they never actually make anyone feel like the right result was reached, aside from obviously being happy if you won. Doing one nationally would tear the country apart.

Another rule you could implement is a runoff if no candidate gets 50%. That would have solved the Nader problem.

My analogy was meant to illustrate rule of law vs. getting the right result. We both agree that Gore won, I assume, but the results consistent with the law didn’t show that. The Florida Supreme Court seemed more interested in their sense of justice than in the application of the law as written.

The law had deadlines for recounts.

Your grasp of the facts is so completely wrong that it’s futile to even start.

You needed a recount by Nov. 14, 2000, to change the result. Did that happen? No. Bush wins.

Apparently not, since your response doesn’t really address it.

The problem is that no matter where you put that point, an election result within a razor’s edge of that point creates a new issue (whether or not the special procedure is triggered). If the special procedure is just “do a recount”, it doesn’t really matter as long as the “point” is far enough from 50-50 so that having a recount is extremely unlikely to change the result (so in the right-on-the-edge case, it doesn’t really matter whether or not you do the recount). However, as I pointed out, it does create a potential problem with your proposed procedure:

Using that rule, it matters whether the incumbent got 50.501% or 50.499%, making that a new recount trigger point.

It doesn’t really, because if the incumbent has 50.51%, he clearly won. A recount that finds he got 50.2% doesn’t change that. Besides, in my plan the first count is considered the accurate count, so if the first count says he got 50.51%, that’s what he got. Court cases would still be allowed if a loser can prove major shenanigans, just like in current law. And I suppose a recount could be mandated if it would correct the shenanigans. I just don’t like the, “the election was close, let’s count again!” mentality. Recounts are fine if they confirm the result, but if the recount says the first result was wrong, how do you know the 2nd count was any more accurate than the first count? A recount satisfies “common sense” to some extent. But using statistical science, we know that two counts of the same jar of marbles are equally likely to be right. The second count is not automatically better than the first count, and a third count isn’t any more accurate than the first two. An average of the three counts gives you a better shot at getting close, but that would be really hard to do nationally. So best to just go with the first count.

Wrong, flatly.

That’s why SCOTUS enjoined the completion of the count until that date passed.

Now how is it that you resort to legal technicalities, even wrong ones, to defend your party’s hijacking of democracy itself in a real recent case, while you’re willing to overlook such details in defending faithless electors?

If the incumbent got 50.499%, did he clearly win? Then why would your rule say to throw him out?

No matter what your procedure, you’re going to have some line where, just a little bit on this side of the line, guy A wins, and just a little bit on that side of the line, guy B wins. And if the outcome is really close to that line, you’re going to be unsure which side of the line it’s really on.

OK, so your ‘analogy’ doesn’t relate to anything in particular, and is in fact meaningless.

Again, can you be specific?

Private parties - even Presidential campaigns - can’t recount the votes themselves. All private parties can do is petition for recounts. Are you claiming that the Gore campaign missed the deadline for such petitioning?

Because once they file a valid petition by the deadline, it is the appropriate government, not the campaign, that is obligated to conduct the recount.

The alleged deadline meant only that Congress could not challenge electors who had been seated by that date. That’s the reason the partisans felt forced to footdrag, then get SCOTUS to prevent, any completion of the vote count that might have gone the wrong way. Scalia even admitted as much in his statement.