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Old 08-22-2019, 12:34 PM   #5537
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Originally Posted by Baron Samedi View Post
All of the following is strictly by memory, so don't assume it is 100% factual, but I believe it to be so;

The ruling is absolutely correct. There is no Federal law or statute that binds electors to vote a certain way. We probably want to keep it this way.

Remember that when this nation was founded, it was dubbed "United States" because it was, in fact, a bunch of sovereign states united....otherwise it would have been called "United Provinces" or something like that.

As such, each state, being sovereign, had the right and the power to establish their own electoral systems as they saw fit and appropriate to their own sovereign state, provided those systems did not run afoul of the Constitution.

Thus, the electors appointed to go to Washington are representative of the state they come from, not the people.

This means that the electors are answerable to the state governments, not the federal government. Most states have, if not statutes, at the very least guidelines that electors should represent the vote tallies in their state. Some may be bound by it, some may not be. Woe to the state government or elector who disenfranchises it's own voters, though. There will be Hell to pay if and when it happens.

But, the appointment of electors and what code they are bound by is a matter for the states, and one of the very, very few and precious areas of sovereignty under the 10th Amendment that they retain in modern times.
As much as I agree with what you say in principle, I point to information in the article to show that even in the 30 states that bind their electoral votes, the penalties for faithless electors are weak at best. I would like to think there would be hell to pay in the event of this type of disenfranchisement, but I don't see even Heck or Golly Gee Willickers being paid.

Further, according to the article, this ruling says that states' sovereignty in the matter ends once the electors are chosen and report in December to cast their vote, and that action by the electors falls under the federal purview with no recourse by the state to remove them or nullify the vote. So I have to ask, if the state has no substantive recourse to combat faithless electors, is that point of state sovereignty really so precious or is it just an illusion?

And I understand the point you and Giant Octopodes are making, but in this current cutthroat political climate and considering how underhanded both sides can be with such power on the line, I don't like the idea that a handful of faithless electors could turn the tide in a close presidential race.

But once the electors are chosen and report in December to cast their votes as members of the Electoral College, they are fulfilling a federal function, and a state's authority has ended. "The states' power to appoint electors does not include the power to remove them or nullify their votes," the court said.

Because the Constitution contains no requirement for electors to follow the wishes of a political party, "the electors, once appointed, are free to vote as they choose," assuming that they cast their vote for a legally qualified candidate.

A total of 30 states have laws that bind electors, requiring them to cast their votes for whichever candidate won that state's popular vote. But the laws are weak, providing only nominal penalties for what are known as "faithless electors" who fail to conform to the popular vote.
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