In a unanimous 9-0 decision on Monday, the US Supreme Court ruled that members of the electoral college must vote for the popular vote winner in presidential elections and that states can punish electoral college members so failed to fulfil that pledge.
“Today, we consider whether a State may also penalize an elector for breaking his pledge and voting for someone other than the presidential candidate who won his State’s popular vote. We hold that a State may do so,” Justice Kagan wrote.
According to CNN, 10 out of the 538 presidential electors attempted to vote for someone other than their pledged candidate in 2016.
‘Faithless electors’ from Washington State and Colorado were sued for not voting for the popular vote winner in 2016. Michael Baca from Colorado voted for former Republican governor from Ohio, John Kasich, even though Hillary Clinton won the popular vote in Baca’s state. Over in Washington State, three electoral college members voted for Colin Powell, Sec. Clinton won the popular vote in in Washington State as well.
The Supreme Court’s decision to bind the electoral college members comes at a very crucial time as we head into the November presidential elections in one of the most polarized political atmosphere this country has ever seen. If the court had ruled another way, these electoral college members have the power to choose who will be the president in a close election.