Clarifying the electoral college before this November’s election – let our experts explainJuly 9, 20202 min read
With a divisive and hyper-charged election on the horizon in America, the Supreme Court may have done the country a favor and avoided a constitutional crisis before it happened. The court delivered a unanimous opinion on faithless electors and how those who represent states are to cast their votes in the electoral college.
The Supreme Court ruled unanimously Monday that a state may require presidential electors to support the winner of its popular vote and may punish or replace those who don’t, settling a disputed issue in advance of this fall’s election.
Justice Elena Kagan wrote for the court as it considered for the first time the issue of “faithless electors” and whether the Constitution sees members of the electoral college — whose votes ultimately elect the president — as representatives of the intent of their state’s voters or as independent thinkers.
The Washington state law at issue “reflects a tradition more than two centuries old,” Kagan wrote. “In that practice, electors are not free agents; they are to vote for the candidate whom the State’s voters have chosen.”
In layman’s terms, it simply means representatives to the electoral college are not casting a vote of conscience, but a vote that follows the will and intentions of the popular vote of each specific state.
Popular votes and the electoral college have been hotly debated topics during this century’s elections, and if you are a journalist covering this Supreme Court decision or have questions about the upcoming elections – then let our experts help.
Craig Albert Director of the Master of Arts in Intelligence and Security Studies
Dr. Craig Albert is a leading expert on war, terrorism and American politics and has testified to the U.S. Congress on Islamic Extremism.