Faithless No More

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals just ruled that faithless electors can’t be punished. For more details, see this article.

To my mind, what this ruling says is that the Electoral College should operate the way it was designed to operate, and that state laws and regulations later adopted to punish faithless electors are wrong. In other words, the Electoral College is charged with electing the best President, rather than blindly following the vote of the people (actually, the Constitution doesn’t mention a popular vote).

I’m enough of a democrat to fret over the E.C. ignoring my vote, and yet I live in New York City, where my vote is completely meaningless anyway.

Actually, most of the discussion I’ve heard of the E.C. in recent years has been grumbling about the E.C. following its rules, and thus electing presidents who did not win the nation-wide popular vote. Those discussions usually come to the conclusion that either we need to make still more rules so the E.C. is not operating as it was designed, but rather carrying out some other plan; or that the E.C. should be disbanded. But if it did go back to the original plan, most of those grumbling the loudest would probably be satisfied. And I think this ruling heads in that direction. (I don’t think the Founders put much trust in the unadulterated will of the people, so they created the E.C. to temper that will with electors who could decide the people have voted for the wrong person.)

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