Bush may not
get Robb vote
By Tom Diana
If the presidential election results in an electoral college tie,
it's possible that a West Virginia Republican, South Charleston
Mayor Richie Robb, will have a decisive effect - by refusing to cast
his electoral vote for President George W. Bush.
Although it is not likely, Robb could end up casting an electoral
vote that throws the election from Bush to U.S. Sen. John Kerry.
Robb raised questions about how he would vote in the electoral
college, as well as some political eyebrows, when he publicly stated
he may not cast his vote for Bush.
"I think President Bush needs to get the message from people
across this country, including Republicans, that his strategy in
national security and his economic policies need revisited,"
Robb, a Republican, was appointed as one of the five presidential
electors for Bush during the West Virginia Republican State
Committee's convention June 5. He was nominated by state party
Chairman Kris Warner and confirmed by about 350 delegates, said
party Executive Director Gary Abernathy.
Under state law, if Bush wins the popular vote in the Mountain
State on Nov. 2, the five electoral college electors, selected by
the Republican State Committee's convention delegates, get to cast
their vote for president in the electoral college. That will happen
Dec. 13 in Charleston in the governor's office, he said.
The U.S. Constitution requires a candidate for president to
receive 270 electoral votes to win the election. Although not
likely, it is possible that this election could end up in a tie of
269 electoral votes for Bush to 269 electoral votes for Kerry. If
that happens, the U.S. Constitution outlines the process of choosing
the president by a vote of members of the U.S. House of
Representatives. Each House member votes within their state
delegation to give each state one vote.
At this time, Robb has indicated that if he gets to cast his vote
in the electoral college, it is unlikely he would cast his vote for
Kerry or anyone else. Instead, he would withhold his vote.
Abernathy believes if Bush wins the popular vote, Robb would be
legally compelled to vote for the president.
"I think the thing that Richie has to be aware of is he has
a duty ... to carry out the will of the people," Abernathy
said. "I've been talking to attorneys before, and they say
that" voting in the electoral college "is a ministerial
West Virginia state law governs how the state's electors in the
electoral college function, Abernathy said, noting it requires
Richie to cast his vote for Bush.
The electoral college "is not meant for the electors"
of the electoral college "to decide the election,"
Abernathy said. "It's for the voters to decide the
The state party could hold another convention after the Nov. 2
election and before the Dec. 13 casting of electoral college votes
and rescind the appointment of Robb, Abernathy said. Another person
would likely be appointed by the party in Robb's place.
Prior to the Nov. 2 election, however, the party may not take any
preemptive action against Robb's possible lack of support for Bush.
"We may not decide to do anything until after the
election," Abernathy said. "We're not in a hurry to do
anything about it until after the election."
A comfortable majority in electoral votes by either Bush or Kerry
would render Robb's single electoral vote inconsequential in terms
of the presidential election outcome.
Electoral College Table of