Electors filling out ballots during a meeting of Washington State’s Electoral College in … In 2020, a more robust faithless elector presence, in a close Electoral College vote—catalyzed by a super-polarized environment—could change … On December 14, 2020, the electoral college cast their votes exactly 306 for Joe Biden and 232 for Donald Trump. Faithless electors could still throw the election, and Congress would be in chaos if Trump challenged mail ballots. Seven of those changed votes were valid under state law. But faithless electors are rare and have never swung an election. Those prohibitions written into state law, Kagan wrote, are perfectly legal. Justice Thomas penned his own concurrence (which was joined in part by Justice Neil Gorsuch), agreeing that electors do not have the right to go rogue – but rejecting the majority’s reliance on the interpretation of Article II. To change the 2020 presidential election, multiple electors would need to do so — enough to flip the Electoral College balance — and America has never even come close to seeing that happen. It's been a wild cycle. On December 14, 2020, the electoral college cast their votes exactly 306 for Joe Biden and 232 for Donald Trump. Five turned against Democratic nominee … ‘Faithless Electors’ Could Tip the 2020 Election. Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Legacy and the Supreme Court's Future. Senator Marco Rubio (R - FL) cheekily brought up how folks of the opposite political persuasion behaved in 2016. Read On To Find Out How Faithless Electors Could Have A Major Say … Trump's legal team allegedly (read: according to unnamed sources) discussed trying to delay state vote certifications and install friendly electors. When all votes were counted, Joe Biden had secured the promise of a majority of electors: 306 to Donald Trump's 232. Unanimous Supreme Court Smacks Down ‘Faithless Electors’ in Time for 2020 Election. The plaintiffs in the two cases argued that the consequences they faced as a result of exercising their votes as chosen were unconstitutional deprivations of their right to vote. The often-fractured Court agreed, however, on the outcome: if a state wishes to prohibit faithless electing, it can absolutely do so. View Larger. Three other states impose a penalty on faithless electors but still count their votes as cast. In 2020, the Supreme Court took up Chiafalo v. Washington. EqualCitizens.US founder and attorney for the electors in the Chiafalo case attorney Lawrence Lessig reacted to the ruling against his clients. One faithless elector, David Mulinix, a Democrat from Hawaii, cast his vote for Bernie Sanders instead of Hillary Clinton. Electors are determined by the number of U.S. senators and representatives each state has — that means we get 20 in Pennsylvania. I'll revisit this post as we head towards certification (January 6) and President-Elect Biden's inauguration (January 20). Show full articles without "Continue Reading" button for {0} hours. States are awarded electoral votes in proportion to their population (out of a total pool of 538 electors). US Election 2020: What are ‘faithless electors’ that Trump allies hyping to help him secure second term? Faithless electors have the power to throw an election result into chaos if the race is particularly tight and if the political atmosphere has been as polarised as it has been in 2020. HAMMER MUSEUM Free for good 10899 Wilshire Blvd. Then, the winning party appoints its electors, and the electors are expected to vote for the party nominee. “Although voting and discretion are usually combined,” wrote the justice, “voting is still voting when discretion departs.”. There was a surprisingly large number of faithless electors in 2016 compared to previous years, but will there be any in 2020? That particular portion of the Constitution, argued Thomas, only addresses the appointment of electors, but says nothing about the way those electors are expected to vote. ↑ The Wall Street Journal, "Tallying Up the ‘Faithless Electors’," May 12, 2020 ↑ 4.0 4.1 Emory Law Journal, "Faithless or Faithful Electors? Faithless electors could still throw the election, and Congress would be in chaos if Trump challenged mail ballots. If you have any questions or comments please contact Ashley Houghton, AHoughton@fairvote.org. As of 2020 , 33 states and the District of Columbia have laws that require electors to vote for the candidates for whom they pledged to vote, though in half of these jurisdictions there is no enforcement mechanism. She called the Constitution “barebones” on the issue of electors. In the letter, they demand a 10-day emergency audit. In total, 10 electors were “faithless” in 2016, which was itself the most in a century. A candidate needs a majority … While Congress won't certify the election until January 6, the odds are slim to none that Congress will overturn the official electors and grant Trump a second term. Justice Sonia Sotomayor recused. In 2020, Republican electors in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Nevada, and Michigan (states Biden carried) all "submitted" – quotes because it's unclear how they sent them in – electoral votes for Donald Trump opposite the state's official electoral slate. Due to the unique challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a larger than normal count of mail-in ballots in 2020. “Rather than just assume that party-picked electors would vote for their party’s winning nominee, those States insist that they do so,” Kagan noted. In the 1960's election between Republican Richard Nixon and Democrat John Kennedy, Hawaii was too close to call after a November 8 count and headed to recall. Prior to 2016 (and the maneuvering of pro-Clinton electors), the largest number of electors to defect from a live presidential candidate was six: electors for James Madison in 1808. A global pandemic, lots of turnover in the Executive Branch, and a nation on pins and needles have – perhaps – blown things up to new levels of drama. In 2016, there were a total of 7 faithless electors – electors pledged to one candidate who voted for another. Expert Q&As Hidden Common Ground Suzette Hackney Columns & Letters. When it comes time for the Electoral College to vote, some electors could go against their state's vote. Given the amount of publicity received by the grandstanding faithless electors in 2016, each political party can be expected to be extremely careful in 2020 … There are 538 electors from the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Most states have laws that bind electors to their pledged candidate and 15 impose a penalty for faithless votes, including cancelling the vote and fines of up to $1,000. While Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis were the official legal team, other lawyers independently filed lawsuits challenging the election's validity. Rather than contort the language of both Article II and the state statute, I would acknowledge that the Constitution simply says nothing about the States’ power in this regard. The Court’s official opinion was filed in the Chiafalo case, but it bound both cases by a brief order in the corresponding Baca case. Here's his statement in full: On January 2, 2021, 11 GOP Senators and Senators Elect signed a letter saying they'd vote to reject some states' Electoral College votes. Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives Michigan Representative James O’Hara was the first to challenge the electoral vote count under the Electoral Count Act of 1887 in 1969. There were 0 faithless electors in 2020. Who Are the One Percent in the United States by Income and Net Worth. “But we are happy that we have achieved our primary objective — this uncertainty has been removed. It is precisely in that silence, the justice wrote, where the inherent power of the states to legislate lies. Late-counted votes on November 3 and the morning of November 4 put it back in doubt, then the trickle of counted votes 'turned' the vote to Joe Biden in a number of swing states over the next three days: Nearly immediately after networks called Biden's election victory on November 7, President Trump called the results "far from over," promising to challenge the results. There are too many to list here – Wikipedia has a decent catalog of legal actions by the campaign (and the allies). Colorado played a big role in the country’s current view of faithless electors after the 2016 election and a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that followed, in the middle of this year. Unlike the many conservative/liberal court splits we’ve seen lately, SCOTUS unanimously sided against the electors with just Justice Clarence Thomas writing a separate concurrence to lay out some alternative reasoning. (Colin Powell, Bernie Sanders, John Kasich, Ron Paul, and Faith Spotted Eagle all picked up votes.). The Supreme Court upheld a faithful elector requirement in 1952. In 2016, there were seven faithless electors. RELATED: 2020 election: Transition challenges await Biden Ultimately, JFK won in a recount – Hawaii sent an urgent letter two days before Congress certified the election, letting Congress know to accept the Democratic electors' votes for President Kennedy. On December 30, 2020 Josh Hawley (Missouri) was the first senator to publicly state he'd object to electoral vote certification. Faithless electors have never had an impact on … The Supreme Court of the United States handed down an opinion in the “Faithless Elector” cases on Monday, which will maintain status quo on all things electoral college for the foreseeable future. While it's theoretically possible that a team of one Senator and one Representative can co-sign a challenge (forcing the President of the Senate, currently Vice President Mike Pence, to intervene) – Republican Senators initially signaled they'd avoid the effort. In her opinion, Kagan relied heavily on an analysis of the wording of Article II, pointing out that although “everyone still calls them ‘electors’, they vote without discretion.” Justice Kagan embarked on a lengthy history lesson, explaining that the electoral college had been the result of “an eleventh-hour compromise.”, Kagan explained 32 states have enacted statutes “to prohibit so-called faithless voting.”. As we have discussed before, SCOTUS was undoubtedly aware that the issue of faithless electing would, if not managed, recur in future presidential elections. He announced he wouldn't vote to certify the Electoral College without raising voter integrity concerns. And Republican Representative Mo Brooks suggested he may fight Congress's electoral college certification on January 6, 2021. Could faithless electors change the 2020 presidential election outcome? An Analogy to Disobedient but Conscientious Jurors," accessed October 9, 2020 ↑ FairVote, "Faithless Elector State Laws," July 7, 2020 Table of Contents show . Presidential Elections; The Electoral College; Faithless Elector State Laws; Faithless Elector State Laws. Most lawsuits were dismissed, although a few lawsuits were decided in the Trump campaign's favor. States decide how to allocate those votes. ... She's also going to be a 2020 elector, if the Democratic nominee wins Colorado. Perhaps because of Chiafalo v. Washington, there weren't as many calls for electoral college shenanigans as there were in 2016. “When we launched these cases, we did it because regardless of the outcome, it was critical to resolve this question before it created a constitutional crisis. Maine and Nebraska are the exceptions – both states assign electors by Congressional District (and each split their total slate of votes in 2020 – see the map below). The cases stemmed from the 2016 presidential election. Settling the matter now, outside of the context of the 2020 presidential election, settles the question of states’ rights to remove or sanction electors who step out of line. See. We have achieved that. The electoral college is the body that elects the President and Vice President in the United States. Congress and the Case of the Faithless Elector. Rejecting the argument that the word “vote” implies a freedom to choose, Kagan wrote that the word merely connotes a casting of a ballot. Author: Rebecca Coster Published: 2:59 PM MST November 11, 2020 /tiles/non-collection/1/11-17-Ohara-Collection.xml. (See my 2016 post for a recounting). With one elector for each of the 100 senators, 435 House members and D.C.'s three electors, the total number is 538. On Monday, the Supreme Court put its stamp of approval on either approach, at minimum. When it comes time for the Electoral College to vote, some electors could go against their state's vote. Generally speaking, the way it works is that a state will require an elector to “pledge” in advance that they will support the party nominee. With some minor adjustment theoretically possible: Joe Biden won 81,268,867 votes (51.3%) to Donald Trump's 74,216,747 (46.8%). ... A faithless elector … In 14 states, votes contrary to the pledge are voided and the respective electors are replaced, and in two of these states they may also be fined. Unanimous Supreme Court Smacks Down ‘Faithless Electors’ in Time for 2020 Election The Supreme Court of the United States handed down an opinion in the “Faithless … Like Washington and Ohio, individual states have their own mechanisms to ensure that whoever is appointed as an elector votes for the popular winner. Seven of those changed votes were valid under state law. No lawsuits alleged fraud in numbers large enough to turn the election, however. The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. Los Angeles, CA 90024 (310) 443-7000 [email protected] Gallery Hours With one elector for each of the 100 senators, 435 House members and D.C.'s three electors, the total number is 538. Will the Supreme Court Stop Them? The Supreme Court: Chiafalo v. Washington, The Electoral College and 'Multiple Slates of Electors', Josh Hawley Announces He'll Raise Concerns at the Certification Vote, January 2, 2021: 11 Republican Senator Letter to Reject Electoral Votes, In 2016, there were a total of 7 faithless electors, decent catalog of legal actions by the campaign, suggested a recount or an electoral college remedy, delay state vote certifications and install friendly electors, suggested he may fight Congress's electoral college certification, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Nevada, and Michigan, Hours Calculator: See How Many Hours are Between Two Times, Bitcoin Return Calculator with Inflation Adjustment, Net Worth by Age Calculator for the United States in 2020, Stock Total Return and Dividend Reinvestment Calculator (US), Net Worth Percentile Calculator for the United States in 2020, S&P 500 Return Calculator, with Dividend Reinvestment, Income Percentile Calculator for the United States in 2020, Average, Median, Top 1%, and all United States Net Worth Percentiles in 2020, Income Percentile by Age Calculator for the United States in 2020, Household Income Percentile Calculator for the United States in 2020, Height Percentile Calculator for Men and Women in the United States, Average, Median, Top 1%, and all United States Household Income Percentiles in 2020, Age Difference Calculator: Compute the Age Gap, S&P 500 Periodic Reinvestment Calculator (With Dividends), Years Between Dates Calculator: Years between two dates, Month Calculator: Number of Months Between Dates, ETF Return Calculator: Dividends Reinvested (US). 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