Faithless Electors: Keeping the Ties That Bind

April 24, 2020

Every four years, the United States chooses a president and vice president. Millions of Americans exercise the right to vote, believing that they are voting for the candidates of their choice. In actuality, 538 relatively unknown party insiders known as electors officially choose the president a month later in fifty-one obscure meetings. Most of the time, these electors mirror the popular votes. However, whether these electors are required to do so and whether the states can enforce laws requiring them to do so are open questions. The Tenth Circuit recently declared statutes that bind electors unconstitutional. A few months before that decision, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled that these laws and their enforceability are constitutional. This Note identifies the arguments for each position, analyzes the strengths and weaknesses of each position, and identifies any issues not considered either by legal scholars or by the courts. Finally, this Note agrees with the Washington State Supreme Court that these laws are constitutional and implores the U.S. Supreme Court to affirm the Washington State Supreme Court’s decision in June 2020 before one of those 538 electors can change the outcome of a future presidential election.

April 2020

No. 5