A faithless Elector is the term used when a state’s presidential Elector casts their ballot against their constituency. In an election year that saw a shattering of the record number of faithless Electors, with an old record of one in any given Presidential Election, seven chose to go against the popular vote. And, draw what conclusion you choose, three of the four voted for the same candidate, actually crossing party lines to cast their ballots.
Washington has 12 electoral votes, one for each congressional seat, and, according to their website, as of April 1, 2017, an estimated population of just over 7.3 million. Simple division reveals that each Washington Elector’s vote carries the weight of over 609 thousand American Citizens. Whether or not they, personally, agree with Washington State voters’ choices, their responsibility lies with the constituency they represent.
Shockingly, according to the US Government’s archived Electoral College site
Thirty states, plus the District of Columbia, require Electors to vote in accordance with the popular vote through state laws. A glaring problem with that is that only six states cancel a faithless vote, and only five states provide any penalty for the action against American voters .
The record number of Electoral College ballots cast against the popular vote could give leverage to those who would do away with the entire Electoral System, and Democratic Republic that is America, in favor of a true Popular Democracy. Such a response would be devastating, and, fortunately, would require an Act of Congress. The founding fathers warned of some of these dangers.Ben Franklin said, “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch.” And, Thomas Jefferson added, “Democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where 51% of the people may take away the rights of the other 49%.”
Clearly, our System needs reform. These seven could be just the beginning of an Electoral Revolution that could see larger numbers in 2020.
To paraphrase Alexander Hamilton’s quote from the Federalist Papers, the Electoral College structure may not be perfect, but at least it’s excellent . In today’s political times, maybe excellent isn’t good enough.