Electoral College lesson: The Supreme Court opens the door to states making the popular vote matter in electing presidents

The unanimous decision of the U.S. Supreme Court last week that states can compel electors to vote as each state wants or have their vote voided (and be fined) might seem at odds with the Constitution, inasmuch as the original intent of the Electoral College was for the “most enlightened and respectable citizens” to select the president with “discretion and discernment.”

But since the whole wise men thing envisioned by Founders such as Alexander Hamilton and John Jay fell apart after George Washington’s term, it makes sense to formally reduce the College to an assemblage of mindless drones pledged to vote for the candidate the people of their state elected.


Indeed, the ruling ought to be the nudge the nation needs to put the Electoral College, a ridiculous way of picking presidents that has overridden the popular vote twice since 2000, out to pasture.

In penning her decision, Justice Elena Kagan wrote that Electors are mere pawns who can be discarded if they disobey their instructions.

That notion should breathe new life into one of the best ideas out there to restore faith in the workings of our democracy: The National Popular Vote compact.

So far 16 states, with 196 electoral votes (including California, New York and Illinois), agreed to give all their electoral votes to whoever wins the overall national ballot tally. It takes effect when states with 74 more electoral votes sign on.

Choose a president based on the will of the American majority?


Isn’t that a radical idea.

— New York Daily News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Star-Advertiser's TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email hawaiiwarriorworld@staradvertiser.com.