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“Faithless” Electors II – secret ballots, potential for bakshish

December 9, 2016

See the part I blog post on faithless electors, here.

Another technical aspect of this scenario: would potential faithless/dissenting electors face possible retribution from either the Republican Party or a Trump administration (if their effort fails)?

The question hinges on whether the electoral college (EC) votes by secret ballot. As far as I can tell, the results of the EC are released by-state. Within each state, the votes of the individual electors need not be made public, but this may be up to individual states. I’m not completely clear on this.

If electors can indeed maintain their anonymity within their state, it would make it more plausible that 3 dozen or so would try to vote for someone other than Trump. If they wanted to “stop Trump” with max effectiveness, then the pick would be Clinton, but of course as a halfway-defensible position in case of being outed, they could pick a random Republican, in which case 6 dozen dissenters would be required. Also electors from small states would be in more danger of being discovered.

In the previous blog post on this subject, I listed some huge negatives, especially for the Republican party’s future viability due to loss of respect of their voters, so I am confident the Republican leadership would not want to abandon Trump in the EC as a matter of policy. After the Podesta emails, I think they’d be crazy to rely on keeping such a thing secret.

However on an individual level, this is a good opportunity for Republican electors to work the bakshish, whether favors from the Trump administration, or its enemies, or both at once, since if you’re going to do this, you might as well do it right.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faithless_elector


It should be obvious that I think the EC is a crappy system…  The US (or any country) would be much better served by Proportional Representation and a system of Preference Voting (RCV).

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3 Comments
  1. The Electoral College votes are public. Electors sign certificates stating who they vote for.

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/2000/12/do_the_electors_vote_by_secret_ballot.html

    • Glad to hear that! Although the slate article doesn’t answer the detail about the voting procedures. If the per-state certificates that go into the federal record are pre-printed as described and signed publicly or at least in the presence of the other electors, that would be close enough.

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