A Page from Our Book

Page 85 – Electors Pledged to a Candidate

As far as Electors publicly pledging themselves to a particular candidate, this is no longer considered outrageous as Mr. Rawle indicated. Now this is expected. Any Elector who dared vote for a different candidate than the party choice would be labeled a “faithless Elector.” The use of this terminology actually makes it sound, if not illegal, at least immoral to vote his conscience! There are no national laws to prevent this, but 30 of the states have enacted laws to bind the presidential Electors to vote for the candidate of their party. Some go further: Oklahoma and Washington impose a civil penalty of up to $1,000; in North Carolina, the fine is $500. In examining the state laws of Utah (where the authors resided when this book was written) we found the following:

20A-13-304. Meeting to ballot — Casting ballot for person not nominated by elector’s party.
(1) The electors shall meet at the office of the lieutenant governor at the state capitol at noon of the first Wednesday of the January after their election, or at noon of any other day designated by the Congress of the United States of America.
(2) After convening, the electors shall perform their duties in conformity with the United States Constitution and laws.
(3) Any elector who casts an electoral ballot for a person not nominated by the party of which he is an elector, except in the cases of death or felony conviction of a candidate, is considered to have resigned from the office of elector, his vote may not be recorded, and the remaining electors shall appoint another person to fill the vacancy.

Alabama handles the situation by having each Elector execute the following statement which is attached to the Elector’s nomination by his or her political party:

I do hereby consent and do hereby agree to serve as elector for President and Vice President of the United States, if elected to that position, and do hereby agree that, if so elected, I shall cast my ballot as such elector for _________ for President and _________ for Vice President of the United States

The oath or pledge requirement for Oregon is similar. New Mexico makes it a fourth degree felony to vote contrary to the commitment.

It would appear, at least for the Electors, it has become illegal for any of them to think for themselves. They have become mere robots to confirm the outcome of the popular election for a president/vice-president team nominated and put into office by the demagoguery of a party machine. At least we don’t execute or incarcerate the independent-thinking Elector for voting his conscience! The way the current system works, the few radical individuals in the few states that allow Electors to vote their conscience would not have any impact on the election anyway. Let us briefly recap how the electoral system works today.

– Electors Owned by Political Parties