State Control of Electors
There is no federal law that requires electors to vote as they have pledged, but 29 states and the District of Columbia have legal control over how their electors vote in the Electoral College. This means their electors are bound by state law and/or by state or party pledge to cast their vote for the candidate that wins the statewide popular vote. At the same time, this also means that there are 21 states in the union that have no requirements of, or legal control over, their electors. Therefore, despite the outcome of a state’s popular vote, the state’s electors are ultimately free to vote in whatever manner they please, including an abstention, with no legal repercussions. The states with legal control over their electors are the following 29 and D.C.:

Alabama (Code of Ala. §17-19-2)
Alaska (Alaska Stat. §15.30.090)
California (Election Code §6906)
Colorado (CRS §1-4-304)
Connecticut (Conn. Gen. Stat. §9-176)
Delaware (15 Del C §4303)
District of Columbia (§1-1312(g))
Florida (Fla. Stat. §103.021(1))
Hawaii (HRS §14-28)
Maine (21-A MRS §805)
Maryland (Md Ann Code art 33, §8-505)
Massachusetts (MGL, ch. 53, §8)
Michigan (MCL §168.47)
Mississippi (Miss Code Ann §23-15-785)
Montana (MCA §13-25-104)
Nebraska (§32-714)
Nevada (NRS §298.050)
New Mexico (NM Stat Ann §1-15-9)
North Carolina (NC Gen Stat §163-212)
Ohio (ORC Ann §3505.40)
Oklahoma (26 Okl St §10-102)
Oregon (ORS §248.355)
South Carolina (SC Code Ann §7-19-80)
Tennessee (Tenn Code Ann §2-15-104(c))
Utah (Utah Code Ann §20A-13-304)
Vermont (17 VSA §2732)
Virginia (§24.2-203)
Washington (RCW §29.71.020)
Wisconsin (Wis Stat §7.75)
Wyoming (Wyo Stat §22-19-108)

Most of these state laws generally assert that an elector shall cast his or her vote for the candidates who won a majority of the state’s popular vote, or for the candidate of the party that nominated the elector.

Over the years, however, despite legal oversight, a number of electors have violated their state’s law binding them to their pledged vote. However, these violators often only face being charged with a misdemeanor or a small fine, usually $1,000. Many constitutional scholars agree that electors remain free agents despite state laws and that, if challenged, such laws would be ruled unconstitutional. Therefore, electors can decline to cast their vote for a specific candidate (the one that wins the popular vote of their state), either voting for an alternative candidate, or abstaining completely. In fact, in the 2000 election, Barbara Lett-Simmons, an elector for the District of Columbia, cast a blank ballot for president and vice president in protest of the District’s unfair voting rights. Indeed, when it comes down to it, electors are ultimately free to vote for whom they personally prefer, despite the general public's desire.

Electoral College Table of Contents

April 17th 2009
In our view, April 17: Equal Voting

Editorial in the Columbian in favor of the national popular vote plan, which is likely to be passed into law soon in the state of Washington.

February 5th 2009
Push continues to defeat Electoral College
Associated Press

Associated Press wire story on National Popular Vote moving in Vermont features FairVote analysis

January 20th 2009
Initiative could make elections more fair
The Columbia Tribune

Missouri ally of the National Popular Vote plan writes oped in local paper.

January 10th 2009
Abolish the Electoral College
Sarasota Herald Tribune

Editorial strongly in favor of a national popular vote for president via constitutional amendment or the 'compelling' National Popular Vote plan.

December 22nd 2008
Time to eliminate Electoral College?

Editorial supports a national popular vote for president, citing FairVote's research.

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