Electoral College Must Vote Per State’s Popular Vote, Supreme Court Rules

Published by Matt Fishman on

“A State can require… that the elector pledge to cast his Electoral College ballot for his party’s presidential nominee, thus tracking the State’s popular vote”, the Supreme Court ruled today.

In the United States, when citizens cast ballots for presidential candidates, their votes go toward selecting members of the Electoral College. Each State appoints a certain number of Electors based on the popular returns. States have different mechanisms “to ensure that the electors they appoint vote for the presidential candidate their citizens have preferred”.

In the case before the court, three Electors for the state of Washington voted against their state’s popular vote. In response, the State fined the Electors $1,000 apiece “for breaking their pledges to support the same candidate its voters had”. The Electors sued, “arguing that the Constitution gives members of the Electoral College the right to vote however they please”.

Today, the Supreme Court declared that a State may in fact penalize an elector for voting for someone other than the presidential candidate who won his State’s popular vote.