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The Federal Court Ruling That Could Save The Electoral College

Michael P. King/Wisconsin State Journal via AP

Well, as more and more states sign off on the National Popular Interstate Compact, a new federal court ruling could impact that push that many see as a circumvention of the Electoral College. In short, the compact isn’t triggered unless enough states agree to the terms. The NPV needs enough states to get to the magic 270 number. If NPV cobbles together enough states, the states will pledge their electors to whoever wins the popular vote, despite the results of their respective home vote tallies. In other words, Alabama could go Republican but cast their electoral votes for a Democrat if he or she wins the national popular vote.


I attended a seminar with folks who support the NPV. They see the institution as one that favors swing states and Democrats. Should Florida go blue, that’s the ball game. That’s how much of an advantage the Left has in this system, though Florida has now defied two election cycles where Republicans have won handily statewide. Frankly, it’s a good conversation starter, but it’s hard to not see this as a push that will cannibalize the current system. The renewed uproar is from the Left, who are still sour over the 2016 election.

In Colorado, a federal court ruled that it was unconstitutional for the then-secretary of state to remove an elector who refused to cast his ballot for Hillary Clinton. She carried the state that year, but the elector wanted to cast his vote for John Kasich. With the court ruling in favor of the rights of faithless electors, the NPV push could be impacted, as the entire premise of the agreement could be placed in front of the legal crosshairs (via Free Beacon):

A panel of federal judges with the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of appeals handed down a 2-1 ruling saying the state of Colorado was wrong in 2016 to force a presidential elector to cast his vote for Hillary Clinton in the Electoral College.


In 2016, however, elector Micheal Baca tried to cast his vote for Ohio's then-governor, Republican John Kasich, as part of a short-lived movement to circumvent Trump's election in a kind of compromise. Supporters of the idea hoped enough electors would defect to Kasich to deny Trump the presidency — arguing Trump was too unstable or dangerous — but would still have given Republicans control of the executive branch rather than handing that power to Democrats.

When Baca cast his vote for Kasich, then-secreatary of state Wayne Williams (R.) removed and replaced Baca with an elector who voted for Clinton.

"Secretary Williams impermissibly interfered with Mr. Baca's exercise of his right to vote as a presidential elector," part of the court ruling read. "Specifically, Secretary Williams acted unconstitutionally by removing Mr. Baca and nullifying his vote for failing to comply with the vote binding provision."


Colorado secretary of state Jena Griswold told the Colorado Sun the ruling could hamstring the NPV, noting that the mandates of how the electors should vote under the NPV could be ignored.


We’ll see how this all plays out.


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