In 2016, when President Donald Trump was elected, a number of state-appointed presidential electors in Colorado decided they were going to vote their conscience, not with the winner of the presidential election in their state, as the law states they MUST DO. On Monday, the United States Supreme Court slapped said electors with a unanimous decision that the electors in question MUST vote as the law reads in their state, not as their heads want despite a popular winner.
States are also free to replace electors who refuse to follow said rules as Colorado law requires, or charge a fine for voting differently than directed like in the state of Washington according to Justice Elena Kagan.
Why this is important in the American electoral system is that the presidential election, among all elections in this nation, is unique. It is not one election, but the sum total of the electors representing the 50 states which determine the winner, or fifty smaller elections put together. How the states themselves divvy up the votes is up to the states. Most have a winner take all system. And all have given the courtesy to the people of the state to determine how those votes are cast. They really didn’t have to do this.
But they did, and electors choosing to go their own way negates the will of the people and their votes for preference in a president.
The importance of this Supreme Court decision on faithless electors cannot be understated, and is, in fact, underscored by the rare unanimous decision handed down. There is no liberal/conservative split or divide when it comes to these laws. In this particular area of the law, the states themselves are in control.
And the faithless electors just found that out the hard way.
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