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In every state, political next nominate a slate the electors, or potential members the the Electoral College. In 48 states and also the ar of Columbia, a politics party"s slate that electors becomes part of the Electoral College as soon as the party"s nominee wins a plurality that the vote in the state.<1> "Faithless elector" is a term provided to describe a member that the Electoral College that does no vote because that his or she party"s nominee because that president or vice president.<2><3>

One argument versus the usage of the term "faithless elector" is that it says that all electors space legally required to poll for your party"s nominee. An different term is "independent elector."<4> In 33 states and the ar of Columbia, electors room bound by legislation to vote for their party"s nominee, while 17 states have actually no together law.<5> In Chiafalo v. Washington, the can be fried Court unanimously upheld the constitutionality of state laws that punish or replace faithless electors.<6>

The consequences of violating faithless elector legislations differ across states. In 14 states, faithless electors are changed by alternates, and their votes execute not count towards the 270 electoral votes required to success the presidency. In five states, faithless electors face punishment, such as a fine, because that breaking their pledge.<7> you re welcome click right here for a catalogue of state legislations on faithless electors published by FairVote, an company that explains its mission together "to do every vote and every voice count in every election through structural electoral reforms."<8>

Political parties try to nominate loyal electors who have the right to be counted on to assistance the party"s nominee.<9> Historically, faithless electors have been uncommon, and they have actually never readjusted the outcome of a presidential election. According to FairVote, the end of 23,507 electoral votes counted transparent U.S. History, just 90 electors did no vote for their party"s presidential nominee. Amongst these 90 electors, 63 of lock voted for a different candidate ~ the fatality of your party"s nominee.

During the 2016 presidential race, there were 7 faithless electors, representing the highest number in a century.<4> For an overview of the role of faithless electors in the 2016 presidential election, please click here.

Faithless electors most often vote because that a candidate who is not on the ballot quite than the opposing party"s nominee. The sole instance in which a faithless elector voted for the the opposite party"s nominee arisen in 1796.

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