The Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that states are free to remove and punish presidential electors who break with their pledges to support designated candidates.
In “faithless electors” cases, unanimous #SCOTUS rules that state laws that penalize or remove presidential electors who do not vote for candidate they pledged to support do not violate the Constitution
— SCOTUSblog (@SCOTUSblog) July 6, 2020
The Hill reports the Supreme Court on Monday ruled that states can prohibit their Electoral College representatives from disregarding voters when casting their ballots in presidential elections.
The unanimous decision, arising out of a case from Washington state, essentially gives states the right to outlaw “faithless electors” who cast their votes for people other than those chosen by voters.
“Nothing in the Constitution expressly prohibits States from taking away presidential electors’ voting discretion as Washington does,” Justice Elena Kagan wrote in the majority decision.
A handful of electors had cast their votes in 2016 for people who did not win their states’ popular votes in a failed attempt to deny President Trump an Electoral College majority.
Three Democratic electors in Washington state voted for former Secretary of State Colin Powell instead of Hillary Clinton, hoping that Republican electors would follow suit. The state fined them $1,000 each, prompting a legal challenge from the three officials, who argued that the state law restricting their Electoral College vote was unconstitutional.
Monday’s decision comes four months before another presidential election and essentially dooms any potential effort to sway electors into defying the popular vote in their states. Thirty-two states and D.C. have laws requiring their electors to abide by the outcome of the election.