Change might be on the horizon for the Electoral College

A poll worker, illuminated by the light from a television journalist’s camera, drops off votes on March 20, 2011, in the second round of the presidential elections. (Kendra Helmer/USAID)

Electoral College change possibly near, Supreme Court will take on two cases addressing the Rights of the Electors.

Two cases were agreed to be heard by the Supreme Court from the states of Washington and Colorado addressing the rights of the electoral college January 17th. Come October 1st of this year the Court will open up the case for discussion.

During the 2016 election we see that due to “faithless electors,” from several states, who voted against what state they had been supporting. These votes against some state laws swayed the numbers in the electoral college to favor President Trump. In 29 states laws exist which state the rights of the electors in each state. 

Each state has their many electors who is over a district, a certain area of the state. Each elector votes for whomever they support before the presidential election. The website of the US National Archives informs us on the topic, “The Electoral College consists of 538 electors. A majority of 270 electoral votes is required to elect the President.”

Each state votes for their own electors by the people per each district in which they reside in. The elector should abide by whom they had publicly pledged their allegiance to. In the case of an elector who does not vote for their parties candidate at the time of the election they are punished according to their state law. 

These cases which will be reviewed later this fall might decide what federal government will do to not allow the acceptance of such behavior in the college during future elections. Will the electors be free to vote no matter their previous public support or will state governments require electors to cast their votes for the candidate they had chosen.

Prior to this, the federal government has had no power over which way the electoral college members should vote. It was in the year 1988 where we see the last occurrence of a faithless elector with Margaret Leach Democrat of West Virginia.

According to the Fair Vote Archives Leach did something unexpected by “switching her votes for President and Vice President. Leach cast her Presidential vote for Lloyd Bentsen, the Democratic Vice Presidential candidate, and cast her Vice Presidential vote for Michael Dukakis, the Democratic Presidential candidate.”

During the 2016 election we see how President Trump’s numbers with the electoral college were quite close to the Democratic contender Hilary Clinton. Out of the 538 electoral votes made we know President Trump brought in 56.9% of the votes, 306. Whereas Clinton came in with 56.5%, 232 electoral votes.

Due to the fact that this specific right was not written in the constitution, each state has been rightfully given the freedom to create such laws for the voting process of the electoral college.