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Student Blog Post: Faithless electors may come into play later this month

Student Blog Post: Faithless electors may come into play later this month

The “Student Blog Post” series invites students from my PLS 321: Electoral Process course to author their own blogs about recent election events.

electors faithless illegal

As everyone knows, Donald Trump has been declared president-elect. But what people may not know is that the Electoral College meets December 19th, 2016 to officially vote and elect President. In controversy, a presidential elector, representing the state of Texas, declared this week that he would not vote for Donald Trump. This makes this Texan elector the second person to refuse to cast his vote in accordance to his state election results, as the Texas’ Electoral College vote went to Donald Trump. Texan Republican elector, Art Sisneros, went as far to state that he would rather resign than vote for Donald Trump. And he is not alone, as a handful of electors, whom are to cast their vote on December 19th, are outspokenly showing their disdain for Donald Trump.

Samuel Miles of Pennsylvania had the distinction of being the first elector to refuse to vote for his state’s electoral victor, in 1796. Miles was a Federalist who had been pledged to vote for the Federalist candidate, John Adams, but rather cast his vote for Democratic-Republican candidate Thomas Jefferson. Now, refusing to vote in the favor of your state is not unheard of, but it is quite rare in American history.

To determine if these rebellious electors will be punished, let’s look at the law. Now, the Constitution does not specifically require electors to cast their votes according to the popular vote in their states, but the laws of 29 states and the District of Columbia bind electors to do so. Some states even go as far to require pledges or threaten fines or criminal action, according to a summary of state laws by the National Assn. of Secretaries of State. So far, no elector has actually been punished, but we shall see after December 19th how these electors actually vote.

It is not unheard of for electors to not vote in the favor of their state, although it is rare. There has been a lot of controversy over Donald Trump as president-elect, as shown through the numerous rallies, marches, and protests. However, the point of the Electoral College is to give all states a say in who becomes President; thus, electors should vote based on the people they represent. Yet, as more and more people resist against the notion of Trump becoming president, the electors in the Electoral College can’t but help to try to give these people a voice. Because in end, the electors are a representation of the people, and if the people are angry, shouldn’t the electors be too?

Third year, Paulina Darett, is a double major in Political Science and Business Marketing. As a young child, she knew her spunkiness and sassiness only had one purpose, to become a future lawyer of America. Born in Los Angeles, raised in Coronado, then back again to Los Angeles, Paulina is enamored with diverse cultures (especially food) and wishes to work with all types of people and work with a variety of law cases in the future.

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