Can the Electors Change the Electoral College Decision

Many are hoping that the Electors who are bound to vote for Trump in the Electorial College instead vote for Clinton.  This would match the popular vote.  These electors would then be known as “Faithless Electors.”  There have been “Faithless Electors” in the past, but never in the numbers necessary to change the election.

There are states where by state law Electors are bound to choose the candidate that wins their state’s electoral votes.  If they don’t they will face fines, usually around $1,000 and/or misdemeanor charges.  There are fifteen states that do not bind their delegates at all.  These states being: Georgia, Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Virginia.  All of these states with the exception of Virginia went for Trump in this election.

There have been faithless electors in 9 out of the last 17 presidential elections with a total of 179 “Faithless” electors.  The only time “Faithless Electors” have ever altered an election was for the Vice Presidential Elections.  In 1836 all of Virgina’s Electors chose not to vote for the Vice President on Martin Van Buren’s ticket.  The Election went to the Senate and the Vice President was elected as the ticket was matched.

There have been faithless electors in recent elections for many reasons.  Some of the reasons have been political, some have been personal, and in the case of one elector in Minnesota, stupidity.  In 2004 one elector voted for John Edwards for both President and Vice President.  Now Minnistorat requires its elector’s votes to be public record.

Legally, if all the electors in the unbound states chose to vote for Clinton instead of Trump the results would be a different president.  The results would also be a president who was not elected by a vote of the people, but by protest.

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