The Supreme Court rules that members of the Electoral College can NOT go rogue with “unbelieving” votes
The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that states can require presidential voters to support their states’ popular vote winner in the Electoral College – in a statement that would suppress the efforts of “rogue” infidel voters in 2020.
The court unanimously ruled that states have the right to tell their voters that they areno reason to reverse the vote of millions of its citizens – after Washington state attempted to impose $ 1,000 fines on voters who ignored their promises.
“That direction is in accordance with the Constitution – and also with the confidence of a nation that here, we rule the people,” wrote Elena Kagan.
The ruling, just under four months before the 2020 election, leaves laws in 32 states and the District of Columbia that bind voters to vote for the popular vote winner, and voters almost always do.
So-called infidel voters have not been critical of the outcome of presidential elections, but that could turn into a race decided by only a few electors. It takes 270 electorial votes to win the presidency.
A police officer walks outside the Supreme Court on Capitol Hill in Washington on Monday, July 6, 2020. (AP Photo / Patrick Semansky)
The ruling came on Monday when the Court extended the publication of opinions to July during a period that has consistently led to rulings on abortion, gay rights and other matters.
The judges had planned arguments for spring so that they could resolve the issue before the elections, rather than during a potential political crisis following the country’s vote.
“Nothing in the constitution expressly forbids states from removing the suffrage of presidential voters, as Washington does. The constitution is barebones about voters, “Kagan wrote.
She rejected the claims of petitioners who suggested the words “vote” and “elector” among those who would register the will of the voters.
“Suppose someone always votes in the way that his spouse, pastor or union tells him to. We can question his judgment, but we would have no problem in saying that he “votes” or fills in a “ballot paper.” In those cases, the choice is in someone else’s hands, but the words still apply because they can mean a mechanical action, ”she reasoned.
When the court heard arguments over the phone in May over the coronavirus outbreak, judges raised fears of bribery and chaos if voters were able to vote, regardless of the popular vote in their states.
The matter has arisen in lawsuits filed by three Hillary Clinton voters in Washington state and one in Colorado who refused to vote for her despite her popular vote in both states. In doing so, they hoped to convince enough voters in Donald Trump-won states to choose someone else and to deny Trump the presidency.
Bret Chiafalo, a plaintiff in a U.S. Supreme Court case, poses for a photo in Lake Stickney Park at his home in Lynnwood, Washington. He was fined $ 1,000 after breaking his promise to vote for Hillary Clinton and pitched his vote at Colin Powell in an attempt to hurt Donald Trump
The Federal Court of Appeal in Denver ruled that voters can vote the way they want, and rejects arguments that they should choose the popular vote winner. In Washington, the state’s Supreme Court upheld a $ 1,000 fine against the three voters and dismissed their claims.
In total, there were ten disbelievers in 2016, including a fourth in Washington, a Democratic voter in Hawaii, and two Republican voters in Texas. In addition, Democratic voters who said they would not vote for Clinton were replaced in Maine and Minnesota.
The closest Electoral College margin in recent years was in 2000, when Republican George W. Bush received 271 votes to 266 for Democrat Al Gore. A voter from Washington, DC left her ballot paper.
The Supreme Court played a decisive role in those elections, ending a recount in Florida, where Bush had a margin of 537 votes to 6 million votes cast.
The judges planned separate arguments in Washington and Colorado cases after Judge Sonia Sotomayor left the Colorado case too late because she knows of one of the plaintiffs.
By asking the Supreme Court to rule that states can oblige voters to vote for the state winner, Colorado had urged judges not to wait for “the heat of a close-knit presidential election.”
The constitution provides only a cursory explanation of their role.
Kagan cited the way the Electoral College functioned in practice since its founding, including during the first controversial elections in 1796.
“Voter voters knew exactly what they were getting – not someone who would deliberate in a Hamiltonian way, but someone who would vote for their party’s candidate,” Kagan wrote.