States Can Require Presidential Electors to Follow Popular Vote, U.S. Supreme Court Rules


WASHINGTON – The U.S. Supreme Court today ruled that states have the authority to require presidential electors to vote for the candidate that wins the popular vote in their state.  

Paul Smith, CLC’s Vice President, Litigation and Strategy, issued the following statement:  

“Today’s ruling is the correct one. If electors had been turned loose to violate state law and ignore their state’s voters, they would have been free to accept contributions from wealthy special interests who want to influence our politics, free from any public disclosure. While numerous federal laws require elected officials and policymakers to follow financial ethics and transparency rules, there are currently no federal ethics or transparency laws for presidential electors. The absence of transparency laws, combined with unfettered discretion, would have led to corruption threatening the very legitimacy of the presidential election. 

Voters should go to the polls with the confidence that their vote will count and that their political system will be free from corruption. However far from perfect the current system may be, the chaos of an unbound Electoral College would have been even worse.” 

Campaign Legal Center and Issue One filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the cases, Chiafalo v. Washington and Colorado Department of State v. Baca, arguing that states should have the ability to bind electors to the popular vote.