The recent article regarding “faithless electors” is confusing. What can be accomplished by those Washington state electors winning or losing the Supreme Court decision?
The state of Washington has entered into a legally binding contract with other states regarding state electoral votes to enforce winner-take-all.
An originalist reading of Article II Section 1 paragraph 3 (and the subsequent Amendment 12) of the U.S. Constitution makes holding a national election for president and vice president seemingly unnecessary. All the states must hold the voting by the selected electors on the same date. That is all.
The idea of electors electing these two national positions rather than the citizenry is the most anti-democratic idea that can be considered. It is straight out of the 18th century idea that these two officers must be selected by persons deemed by each state as “important and wise enough” for the rest of us to trust.
If the electors in the Electoral College don’t identify a winner according to the rules of the 12th Amendment, then the House of Representatives will choose the president, and the Senate will choose the vice president.
How does that work for you?
To avoid this, many of the states have contracted among themselves as to how electoral votes will be allocated, namely winner-take-all after the state popular vote is counted.
But how else could elector votes be distributed if there are more than two candidates identified in the state election? This is not an easy question to answer for two reasons. The first is a well-known result that proves that there is no fair way to distribute votes among three or more candidates. The second is that there is no way to distribute partial votes.
So it is possible that no candidate may receive a majority of elector votes if they are distributed proportional to the total state vote, again throwing the decision to Congress.
RCW 29A.56.300 discusses the contract that Washington state entered into with other states about allocating electoral votes. It is interesting reading.
An obvious question arises. Having made a winner-take-all decision, why do the states need to have electors at all? What purpose do they serve if their votes are automatically cast by the state after the state popular vote is counted? Might as well choose monkeys in a cage as electors.
Get rid of the electoral vote process and use the popular vote. Just dreamin’.