The Supreme Court has announced that it will hear a very important case on the American Electoral College. It could change the way we elect presidents and other public officials. The procedure in place for elections is whichever candidate has received the most votes in a state receives the electoral votes for that state. However, the Court is reviewing important rule changes that could drastically change the overall electoral process. Two states are challenging a clause where presidential electors are forced to vote for the candidate who won their respective state’s popular vote.
State electors are essentially bound by the state’s voters. Electors in Colorado and Washington State believe that the Constitution allows them to vote for whomever they please regardless of how the state voted. The electors want to essentially remove the requirement placed on them during presidential elections. The Supreme Court is planning to take up oral arguments on this case in early June.
Most experts agree that the conservative majority within the Supreme Court would side with the electors and would essentially ease the restrictions placed upon them. The news organization, The Atlantic, cautions that if this does end up being the case, and the Court sides with the state’s electors, there have to be regulations in place to prevent corruption by these officials. There are also concerns this would negatively affect the American electoral process and there are increased concerns these changes are too drastic to the Electoral College just months away from a national election.
These electors are citing that they answer to the U.S Constitution, not their respective state. In the Electoral College, there are electors who do not have allegiances; they are called faithless electors. They are bound by law to vote how their respective state chooses. Some states require commitments before assigning state electors that he or she will support the candidate chosen by the majority.
This case has received sharp criticism about whether these are the right changes to the Electoral College, including the claim that the change will further dilute the influence that the average American has on the election, and will continually dilute the value of their respective vote. Washington State overwhelmingly went to Hillary Clinton in 2016, however, according to CNN, three of the state’s electors voted for Colin Powell. A federal appeals court judge had ruled that laws binding state electors in Colorado was unconstitutional. However, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled in the affirmative that states do have the right to provide regulation for its state’s electors. It is now up to the High Court to decide this case, as this could alter the Electoral College and how elections are conducted for the foreseeable future.