Faithless elector

In United States presidential elections, a faithless elector is a member of the United States Electoral College who does not vote for the presidential or vice presidential candidate for whom they had pledged to vote. That is, they break faith with the candidate they were pledged to and vote for another candidate, or fail to vote. A pledged elector is only considered a faithless elector by breaking their pledge; unpledged electors have no pledge to break.

Electors are typically chosen and nominated by a political party or the party's presidential nominee: they are usually party members with a reputation for high loyalty to the party and its chosen candidate. Thus, a faithless elector runs the risk of party censure and political retaliation from their party, as well as potential legal penalties in some states. Candidates for elector are nominated by state political parties in the months prior to Election Day.

In some states, such as Indiana, the electors are nominated in primaries, the same way other candidates are nominated.[2] In other states, such as Oklahoma, Virginia, and North Carolina, electors are nominated in party conventions. In Pennsylvania, the campaign committee of each candidate names their candidates for elector (an attempt to discourage faithless electors). The parties have generally been successful in keeping their electors faithful, leaving out the cases in which a candidate died before the elector was able to cast a vote.

During the 1836 election, Virginia's entire 23-man electoral delegation faithlessly abstained[3] from voting for victorious Democratic vice presidential nominee Richard M. Johnson.[4] The loss of Virginia's support caused Johnson to fall one electoral vote short of a majority, causing the vice presidential election to be thrown into the U.S. Senate for the only time in American history. The presidential election itself was not in dispute because Virginia's electors voted for Democratic presidential nominee Martin Van Buren as pledged. The U.S. Senate ultimately elected Johnson as vice president after a party-line vote.

There have been a total of 167[5] instances of faithlessness as of 2016. Nearly all have voted for third party candidates or non-candidates, as opposed to switching their support to a major opposing candidate. Ultimately, faithless electors have only impacted the outcome of an election once, during the 1796 election where Thomas Pinckney would have become the President and John Adams the Vice President.[6]

The United States Constitution does not specify a notion of pledging; no federal law or constitutional statute binds an elector's vote to anything. All pledging laws originate at the state level.[7][8]

Faithless elector states
  State laws may impose a fine on an elector who fails to vote according to the statewide or district popular vote, force an elector to vote for the candidate they pledged to vote, or disqualify an elector who violates their pledge and provide a replacement elector. The states with laws that attempt to bind the votes of presidential electors are highlighted above in red.[1]

Legal position

Twenty-one states do not have laws compelling their electors to vote for a pledged candidate.[9] Twenty-nine states plus the District of Columbia have laws to penalize faithless electors, although these have never been enforced.[4] In lieu of penalizing a faithless elector, some states, such as Michigan and Minnesota, specify the faithless elector's vote is void.[10] Minnesota invoked this law for the first time in 2016 when an elector pledged to Hillary Clinton attempted to vote for Bernie Sanders instead.[11]

Until 2008, Minnesota's electors cast secret ballots. Although the final count would reveal the occurrence of faithless votes (except in the unlikely case of two or more changes canceling out), it was impossible to determine which elector(s) were faithless. After an unknown elector was faithless in 2004, Minnesota amended its law to require public balloting of the electors' votes and invalidate any vote cast for someone other than the candidate to whom the elector was pledged.[12] After an elector has voted, their vote can be changed only in states such as Colorado, Michigan and Minnesota, which invalidate votes other than those pledged. In the twenty-nine states with laws against faithless electors, a faithless elector may only be punished after they vote.

U.S. Supreme Court

The constitutionality of state pledge laws was confirmed by the Supreme Court in 1952 in Ray v. Blair[13] in a 5–2 vote. The court ruled states have the right to require electors to pledge to vote for the candidate whom their party supports, and the right to remove potential electors who refuse to pledge prior to the election. The court also wrote:[13]

However, even if such promises of candidates for the electoral college are legally unenforceable because violative of an assumed constitutional freedom of the elector under the Constitution, Art. II, § 1, to vote as he may choose [emphasis added] in the electoral college, it would not follow that the requirement of a pledge in the primary is unconstitutional.

— U.S. Supreme Court, Ray v. Blair, 1952

The ruling only held that requiring a pledge, not a vote, was constitutional and Justice Jackson, joined by Justice Douglas, wrote in his dissent, "no one faithful to our history can deny that the plan originally contemplated what is implicit in its text – that electors would be free agents, to exercise an independent and nonpartisan judgment as to the men best qualified for the Nation's highest offices."[13] More recent legal scholars believe "a state law that would thwart a federal elector’s discretion at an extraordinary time when it reasonably must be exercised would clearly violate Article II and the Twelfth Amendment".[14]

The Supreme Court has never ruled on the constitutionality of state laws punishing or replacing electors for actually casting a faithless vote, or refusing to count said votes.[15]

History

Over 22 occasions, a total of 179 electors have not cast their votes for President or Vice President as prescribed by the legislature of the state they represented. Of those, 71 electors changed their votes because the candidate to whom they were pledged died before the electoral ballot (1872, 1912). Two electors chose to abstain from voting for any candidate (1812, 2000).[4] The remaining 106 were changed typically by the elector's personal preference, although there have been rare instances where the change may have been caused by an honest mistake. Usually, faithless electors act alone, although on occasion a faithless elector has attempted to induce other electors to change their votes in concert, usually with little if any success. An exception was the 1836 election, in which all 23 Virginia electors acted together.

Presidential electors fill out a blank ballot by hand in contrast to marking a pre-printed ballot with a list of electors. An elector does not become faithless simply by misspelling a candidate's name (as misspelled votes have always been counted for the candidate the elector was presumed to be intending to vote for) unless the misspelled name was one other than that of the candidate the elector was pledged to (as happened in Minnesota in 2004). There are not any known instances of misspelled votes being decisive in securing a majority for a presidential or vice presidential candidate.

The 1796 election is the only instance during which the faithless electors successfully changed the outcome of an election. During this election 18 electors pledged to the Federalist voted as pledged for John Adams, however they refused to vote for Pinckney.[6] As a result Adams attained 71 electoral votes, Jefferson received 68, and Pinckney received 59.[16] Had the 18 electors remained faithful Pinckney would have won the presidency with 77 electoral votes and Adams would have remained vice president.

In the 1836 Election faithless electors altered the outcome of the electoral college vote, but failed to change the outcome of the overall election. The Democratic ticket won states with 170 of the 294 electoral votes, but the 23 Virginia electors abstained in the vote for Vice President, so the Democratic nominee, Richard M. Johnson, got only 147 (exactly half), and was not elected. However, Johnson was elected Vice President by the U.S. Senate.

List of faithless electors

The following is a list of all faithless electors (in reverse chronological order). The number preceding each entry is the number of faithless electors for the given year.

2016

72016 election: In Washington, Democratic party electors gave three presidential votes to Colin Powell and one to Faith Spotted Eagle[17] and these electors cast vice-presidential votes for Elizabeth Warren, Maria Cantwell, Susan Collins, and Winona LaDuke. In Hawaii, Bernie Sanders received one presidential vote and Elizabeth Warren received one vice-presidential vote. In Texas, John Kasich and Ron Paul received one presidential vote each, and one of these electors gave Carly Fiorina a vice-presidential vote.[18][19]

In addition, three other electors attempted to vote against their pledge, but had their votes invalidated. In Colorado, Kasich received one vote for president, which was invalidated.[20] Two additional electors, one in Maine and one in Minnesota, cast votes for Sanders for president but had their votes invalidated; the elector in Maine was forced to cast a vote for Clinton, while the elector in Minnesota was replaced by one who cast a vote for Clinton. The same Minnesota elector voted for Tulsi Gabbard for vice president, but had that vote invalidated and given to Tim Kaine.

2000 to 2004

12004 election: An anonymous Minnesota elector, pledged for Democrats John Kerry and John Edwards, cast his or her presidential vote for "John Ewards" [sic],[21] rather than Kerry, presumably by accident.[22] (All of Minnesota's electors cast their vice presidential ballots for John Edwards.) Minnesota's electors cast secret ballots, so the identity of the faithless elector is not known. As a result of this incident, Minnesota statutes were amended to provide for public balloting of the electors' votes and invalidation of a vote cast for someone other than the candidate to whom the elector is pledged.[12]

12000 election: Washington, D.C. elector Barbara Lett-Simmons, pledged for Democrats Al Gore and Joe Lieberman, cast no electoral votes as a protest of Washington D.C.'s lack of voting congressional representation.[15] Lett-Simmons's electoral college abstention, the first since 1864, was intended to protest what Lett-Simmons referred to as the federal district's "colonial status".[15] Lett-Simmons described her blank ballot as an act of civil disobedience, not an act of a faithless elector; Lett-Simmons supported Gore and would have voted for Gore if she had thought he had a chance to win.[15] This did not affect the outcome of the election.

1968 to 1996

11988 election: West Virginia Elector Margarette Leach, pledged for Democrats Michael Dukakis and Lloyd Bentsen, but as a form of protest against the winner-take-all custom of the Electoral College, instead cast her votes for the candidates in the reverse of their positions on the national ticket; her presidential vote went to Bentsen and her vice presidential vote to Dukakis.[23]

11976 election: Washington Elector Mike Padden, pledged for Republicans Gerald Ford and Bob Dole, cast his presidential electoral vote for Ronald Reagan, who had challenged Ford for the Republican nomination. He cast his vice presidential vote, as pledged, for Dole.[24]

11972 election: Virginia Elector Roger MacBride, pledged for Republicans Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew, cast his electoral votes for Libertarian candidates John Hospers and Tonie Nathan. MacBride's VP vote for Nathan was the first electoral vote cast for a woman in U.S. history.[25]

11968 election: North Carolina Elector Lloyd W. Bailey, pledged for Republicans Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew, cast his votes for American Independent Party candidates George Wallace and Curtis LeMay. Bailey later stated at a Senate hearing that he would have voted for Nixon and Agnew if his vote would have altered the outcome of the election.[26]

1912 to 1960

11960 election: Oklahoma Elector Henry D. Irwin, pledged for Republicans Richard Nixon and Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., contacted the other 218 Republican electors to convince them to cast presidential electoral votes for Democratic non-candidate Harry F. Byrd and vice presidential electoral votes for Republican Barry Goldwater, though most replied they had a moral obligation to vote for Nixon; Irwin voted for Byrd and Goldwater. Fourteen unpledged electors (eight from Mississippi and six from Alabama) also voted for Byrd for president, but supported Strom Thurmond for vice president - since they were not pledged to anyone, their action was not faithless.[27]

11956 election: Alabama Elector W. F. Turner, pledged for Democrats Adlai Stevenson and Estes Kefauver, cast his votes for circuit judge Walter Burgwyn Jones and Herman Talmadge.[27]

11948 election: Tennessee elector Preston Parks was on both the Democratic Party for Harry S. Truman and the States' Rights Democratic Party for Strom Thurmond. When the Democratic Party slate won, Parks voted for Thurmond and Fielding L. Wright.[27]

81912 election: Republican vice presidential candidate (and incumbent Vice President) James S. Sherman died before the popular election. Nicholas M. Butler was hastily designated to receive the electoral votes that would have gone to Sherman. The Republicans only carried two states with eight electoral votes between them. All eight Republican electors voted Butler for Vice President.

1872 to 1896

271896 election: The Democratic Party and the People's Party both ran William Jennings Bryan as their presidential candidate, but ran different candidates for Vice President. The Democratic Party nominated Arthur Sewall and the People’s Party nominated Thomas E. Watson. Although the Populist ticket did not win the popular vote in any state, 27 Democratic electors for Bryan cast their vice-presidential vote for Watson instead of Sewall.[28]

11892 election: In Oregon, the electors were pledged to vote for Benjamin Harrison; three electors voted for Harrison and one faithless elector voted for the third-party Populist candidate, James B. Weaver.[29]

631872 election: Horace Greeley was alive during the November election but died before the electoral vote. 63 out of 66 electors refused to vote for a deceased candidate, and out of those, 43 cast their presidential votes for four non-candidates, and 17 abstained. Greeley received three posthumous electoral votes, but these votes were disallowed by Congress.[30]

1812 to 1840

11840 election: One elector from Virginia, Arthur Smith of Isle of Wight County, was pledged to vote for Democratic candidates Martin Van Buren (for President) and Richard M. Johnson (for Vice President). However, he voted for James K. Polk for Vice President.[31]

231836 election: The 23 electors from Virginia were pledged to vote for Democratic candidates Martin Van Buren (for President) and Richard M. Johnson (for Vice President). However, they abstained from voting for Johnson, because of his open liaison with a slave mistress. This left Johnson with one fewer than a majority of electoral votes. Johnson was subsequently elected Vice President by the Senate.

321832 election: Two National Republican Party electors from the state of Maryland refused to vote for presidential candidate Henry Clay and did not cast a vote for him or for his running mate, John Sergeant. All 30 electors from Pennsylvania refused to support the Democratic vice presidential candidate Martin Van Buren, voting instead for William Wilkins.

71828 election: Seven of nine electors from Georgia refused to vote for vice presidential candidate John C. Calhoun. All seven cast their vice presidential votes for William Smith instead.

11820 election: William Plumer was pledged to vote for Democratic-Republican candidate James Monroe, but he cast his vote for John Quincy Adams, who was not a candidate in the election. Some historians contend Plumer wanted George Washington to be the only unanimous selection and that he further wanted to draw attention to his friend Adams as a potential candidate. These claims are disputed.[27] (Plumer cast his vice presidential vote for Richard Rush, not Daniel D. Tompkins.)

41812 election: Three electors pledged to vote for Federalist vice presidential candidate Jared Ingersoll voted for Democratic-Republican Elbridge Gerry. One Ohio elector did not vote.

Before 1812

61808 election: Six electors from New York were pledged to vote for Democratic-Republican James Madison for President and George Clinton for Vice President. Instead, they voted for Clinton to be President, with three voting for Madison for Vice President and the other three voting for James Monroe for Vice President.

191796 election: Samuel Miles, an elector from Pennsylvania, was pledged to vote for Federalist presidential candidate John Adams, but voted for Democratic-Republican candidate Thomas Jefferson. He cast his other presidential vote as pledged for Thomas Pinckney; there was no provision at the time for specifying president or vice president. An additional 18 electors voted for Adams as pledged, but refused to vote for Pinckney.[6] This was an attempt to foil Alexander Hamilton's rumored plan to elect Pinckney as President, and this resulted in the unintended outcome that Adams's opponent, Jefferson, was elected Vice President instead of Adams's running mate Pinckney. This was the only time in U.S. history that the president and vice president have been from different parties prior to 1864 (although in that year while the president and vice president were from different parties they ran on one ticket from the same Third Party), and the only time the winners were from different tickets. After the 1800 election resulted in a deadlock, the Twelfth Amendment was ratified in 1804. It changed the election procedure so that instead of casting two votes of the same type, electors would make an explicit choice for president and vice president.

See also

References

  1. ^ "THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE". National Conference of State Legislatures.
  2. ^ "About the Electors". National Archives and Records Administration.
  3. ^ Sabato, Larry J.; Ernst, Howard R. (May 14, 2014). Encyclopedia of American Political Parties and Elections. Infobase Publishing. p. 133. ISBN 978-1-4381-0994-7. Retrieved November 15, 2016. in 1836...the Virginia electors abstained rather than vote for Democratic vice presidential nominee Richard Johnson
  4. ^ a b c "Faithless Electors". FairVote.org. FairVote. Retrieved September 24, 2015.
  5. ^ "Faithless Electors". Fair Vote.
  6. ^ a b c Chernow, Ron. Alexander Hamilton. New York: Penguin, 2004. p. 514.
  7. ^ Openshaw, Pamela Romney (2014). Promises Of The Constitution: Yesterday Today Tomorrow. BookBaby. p. 10.3. ASIN B00LEWCS4E.
  8. ^ Ross, Tara (2017). The Indispensable Electoral College: How the Founders' Plan Saves Our Country from Mob Rule. Gateway Editions. p. 26. ASIN B072FK8W7X.
  9. ^ "U. S. Electoral College: Who Are the Electors? How Do They Vote?".
  10. ^ "Michigan Election Law Section 168.47". Legislature.mi.gov. Retrieved August 26, 2010.
  11. ^ "Minnesota electors align for Clinton; one replaced after voting for Sanders".
  12. ^ a b "208.08, 2008 Minnesota Statutes". Revisor.leg.state.mn.us. Retrieved May 5, 2009.
  13. ^ a b c Ray v. Blair 343 U.S. 214 (1952)
  14. ^ Sheppard, Stephen M. (May 21, 2015). "A Case For The Electoral College And For Its Faithless Elector" (PDF). Wisconsin Law Review. 2015 (1).
  15. ^ a b c d Stout, David (December 19, 2000). "The 43rd President: The Electoral College; The Electors Vote, and the Surprises Are Few". The New York Times. Retrieved November 30, 2009. But it was Mr. Gore who suffered an erosion today. Lett-Simmons, a Gore elector from the District of Columbia, left her ballot blank to protest what she called the capital's "colonial status" – its lack of a voting representative in Congress.
  16. ^ "Electoral College Box Scores 1789-1996".
  17. ^ "Four Washington state electors break ranks and don't vote for Clinton". The Seattle Times. December 19, 2016. Retrieved December 19, 2016.
  18. ^ Walsh, Sean Collins (December 19, 2016). "All but 2 Texas members of the Electoral College choose Donald Trump". Statesman. Retrieved December 24, 2016.
  19. ^ Neff, Blake. "Faithless Electors In Texas Vote For Ron Paul, John Kasich". DailyCaller. Retrieved December 19, 2016.
  20. ^ Detrow, Scott. "Donald Trump Secures Electoral College Win, With Few Surprises". NPR. Retrieved December 19, 2016.
  21. ^ "Vote for Edwards instead of Kerry shocks Minnesota electors". December 17, 2004. Archived from the original on December 17, 2004.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  22. ^ "MPR: Minnesota elector gives Edwards a vote; Kerry gets other nine". News.minnesota.publicradio.org. Retrieved May 5, 2009.
  23. ^ Johnson, Sharen Shaw (January 5, 1989). "CAPITAL LINE: [FINAL Edition]". USA Today. Retrieved February 11, 2016. Even though Bensten sought the vice presidency, Margarette Leach of West Virginia voted for him to protest the Electoral College's winner-take-all custom.
  24. ^ Edwards, George C. (2011). Why the Electoral College Is Bad for America: Second Edition.
  25. ^ Boaz, David (2008). "Nathan, Toni (1923– )". In Hamowy, Ronald (ed.). The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE; Cato Institute. p. 347. doi:10.4135/9781412965811.n212. ISBN 978-1-4129-6580-4. LCCN 2008009151. OCLC 750831024.
  26. ^ "Tales of the Unfaithful Electors: Dr. Lloyd W. Bailey". EC: The US Electoral College Web Zine. Retrieved May 17, 2008.
  27. ^ a b c d Edwards, George (2004). Why the Electoral College Is Bad for America. Yale University Press.
  28. ^ "Senate and House Secured; Republican control in the next Conress assured. The House of Representatives Repub- lican by More than Two – thirds Ma- jority – Possible Loss of a Repub- lican Senator from the State of Washington – Republicans and Pop- ulists Will Organize the Senate and Divide the Patronage". The New York Times. November 9, 1894. Retrieved May 26, 2010.
  29. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on November 14, 2013. Retrieved 2013-11-13.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  30. ^ "Electoral College Box Scores 1789–1996". National Archives and Records Administration. Retrieved July 31, 2005.
  31. ^ Niles National Register, Vol. LIX, December 5, 1840, page 217

External links

1916 United States presidential election in West Virginia

The 1916 United States presidential election in West Virginia took place on November 7, 1916, as part of the 1916 United States Presidential Election which was held throughout all contemporary 48 states. Voters chose eight representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president.

West Virginia was won by the Republican nominee, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Charles Evans Hughes of New York, and his running mate Senator Charles W. Fairbanks of Indiana. Hughes and Fairbanks defeated the Democratic nominees, incumbent Democratic President Woodrow Wilson and Vice President Thomas R. Marshall.

Hughes won the Mountain state by a very narrow margin of 0.94%. Despite Hughes' win in the state, a faithless electoral gave Wilson one electoral vote. This was the first time that West Virginia had a faithless elector and it would be the only time so until 1988. This was also the first time a losing Republican presidential candidate would win the state and the only one until John McCain won West Virginia in 2008.

1948 United States presidential election in Tennessee

The 1948 United States presidential election in Tennessee took place on November 2, 1948, as part of the 1948 United States presidential election. Tennessee voters chose twelve representatives, or electors, to the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president.

Tennessee was won by incumbent President Harry S. Truman (D–Missouri), running with Senator Alben W. Barkley, with 49.14% of the popular vote, against Governor Thomas Dewey (R–New York), running with Governor Earl Warren, with 36.87% of the popular vote. Truman received eleven of Tennessee's twelve electoral votes, the other was cast in favor of Strom Thurmond by a faithless elector. As of the 2016 presidential election, this is the last election in which Hamilton County voted for the Democratic candidate.

1960 United States presidential election in Oklahoma

The 1960 United States presidential election in Oklahoma took place on November 8, 1960, as part of the 1960 United States presidential election. Oklahoma voters chose nine representatives, or electors, to the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president.

Oklahoma was won by incumbent Vice President Richard Nixon (R–California), running with United States Ambassador to the United Nations Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., with 59.02% of the popular vote, against Senator John F. Kennedy (D–Massachusetts), running with Senator Lyndon B. Johnson, with 40.98% of the popular vote. Nixon received eight of Oklahoma's nine electoral votes; the ninth was cast by a faithless elector to Harry F. Byrd of Virginia.With 59.02% of the popular vote, Oklahoma would prove to be Nixon's third strongest state in 1960 after Nebraska and Kansas.

1968 United States presidential election in North Carolina

The 1968 United States presidential election in North Carolina took place on November 5, 1968, and was part of the 1968 United States presidential election. Voters chose 13 representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president.

The vote in North Carolina was split three ways, between Republican nominee Richard Nixon, Democratic nominee Hubert Humphrey, and American Independent Party nominee George Wallace. Nixon won the state, with 39.5 percent of the vote, while Wallace's 31.3 percent pushed Humphrey into third on 29.2 percent. Nixon won twelve of the state’s electoral votes, while one faithless elector that had been pledged to Nixon voted instead for Wallace. Nixon became the first Republican to carry North Carolina in a presidential election since Herbert Hoover in 1928. As of the 2016 presidential election, this is the last election in which Wayne County and Lenoir County did not vote for the Republican presidential candidate.

1972 United States elections

The 1972 United States elections was held on November 7, and elected the members of the 93rd United States Congress. The election took place during the later stages of the Vietnam War. The Republican Party won a landslide victory in the presidential election and picked up seats in the House, but the Democratic Party easily retained control of Congress. This was the first election after the ratification of the 26th Amendment granted the right to vote to those aged 18-20.Incumbent Republican President Richard Nixon won re-election, defeating Democratic Senator George McGovern from South Dakota. Nixon won a landslide victory, taking just under 61% of the popular vote and winning every state but Massachusetts and Washington, D.C.. Libertarian John Hospers won the electoral vote of one faithless elector, making him the most recent member of a third party to win an electoral vote. McGovern won the Democratic nomination after defeating Washington Senator Henry M. Jackson, Alabama Governor George Wallace, and New York Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm. This was the first presidential election after the McGovern–Fraser Commission (which McGovern himself had chaired) caused an increase in the number of states holding primary elections.In the House, the Republican Party picked up twelve seats, but Democrats easily retained a majority. In the Senate, the Democratic Party picked up two seats, increasing their majority. The House elections took place after the 1970 United States Census and the subsequent Congressional re-apportionment.

In the gubernatorial elections, Democrats won a net gain of one seat.

1976 United States presidential election in Washington (state)

The 1976 United States presidential election in Washington was held on November 2, 1976. Incumbent President Gerald Ford won the state of Washington with exactly 50 percent of the vote, but received only eight of the state’s nine electoral votes. Former California Governor Ronald Reagan lost the Republican nomination to Gerald Ford in 1976 and was not on the ballot in any state. However, he was given one electoral vote by Washington faithless elector Mike Padden. This also the most recent presidential election where Washington would vote Republican in a close nationwide contest, while backing the Republican who did not win the overall election too.

1980 United States presidential election in Washington (state)

The 1980 United States presidential election in Washington was held on November 4, 1980. Republican candidate Ronald Reagan won the state of Washington with 49.66 percent of the vote, carrying the state’s nine electoral votes. During the previous election in 1976, Reagan, who was not on the ballot in any of the fifty states, received one of Washington’s electoral votes by faithless elector Mike Padden.

Reagan won every county in the state except Gray’s Harbor and Pacific Counties, neither of which ever voted Republican between 1956 and 2012. As of the 2016 presidential election, Reagan’s 1980 effort remains the last Republican win in Jefferson County and was the last in Cowlitz County until 2016. Third-party candidate John B. Anderson did well in Western Washington, gaining many voters from disaffected major-party supporters and exceeding 14 percent of the vote in Kitsap and San Juan Counties. Anderson was less successful east of the Cascades, apart from college-influenced Whitman County.

1988 United States presidential election in West Virginia

The 1988 United States presidential election in West Virginia took place on November 8, 1988. All 50 states and the District of Columbia were part of the 1988 United States presidential election. West Virginia voters chose 6 electors to the Electoral College, which selected the president and vice president.

West Virginia was won by Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis who was running against incumbent United States Vice President George H. W. Bush of Texas. Dukakis ran with Texas Senator Lloyd Bentsen as Vice President, and Bush ran with Indiana Senator Dan Quayle.

West Virginia weighed in for this election as 13% more Democratic than the national average. To date this is also the last time the state voted for a losing Democratic presidential candidate.

The 1988 election cycle is also the last time that West Virginia did not vote for the same presidential candidate as neighbouring Kentucky.

2004 United States presidential election in Minnesota

The 2004 United States presidential election in Minnesota took place on November 2, 2004. Voters chose 10 representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president.

Minnesota was won by Democrat nominee John Kerry by a 3.5% margin of victory. Prior to the election, most news organizations considered it as a major swing state in 2004 based on pre-election polling. The state is historically a blue state, as the last Republican to carry the state in a presidential election was Richard Nixon in 1972. However, in 2000 Al Gore carried the state with just 48% of the vote, by a margin of just 2.5%. In 2004, Minnesota was the only state to split its electoral votes, as a faithless elector pledged to Kerry cast a ballot for John Edwards (written as John Ewards), his running mate.

2016 United States presidential election in Hawaii

The 2016 United States presidential election in Hawaii was held on November 8, 2016, as part of the 2016 United States presidential election in which all 50 states and the District of Columbia participated. Hawaii voters chose electors to represent them in the Electoral College by a popular vote pitting the Republican Party's nominee, businessman Donald Trump, and running mate Indiana Governor Mike Pence against Democratic Party nominee, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her running mate, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine.

On March 1, 2016, in the presidential primaries, Hawaii voters expressed their preferences for the Republican and Constitution parties' respective nominees for president. The Green Party held its convention on May 21, along with its primary on May 28. The Democratic Party held its caucus on March 26. Registered members of each party only voted in their party's primary, while voters who were unaffiliated chose any one primary to vote in.

Hillary Clinton won the election in Hawaii with 62.2% of the vote, her highest vote percentage of any state, though a significant decrease from President Obama's 70.55% from 2012. Donald Trump received 30.0% of the vote, surpassing Mitt Romney's 2012 performance by 3%. Hawaii was one of two states where Hillary Clinton won every county, the other being Massachusetts. Hawaii was Green Party nominee Jill Stein's strongest performance, being the only state where she reached 3%.

Despite all of Hawaii's electoral votes being pledged to the Clinton/Kaine ticket, one faithless elector voted for Bernie Sanders for president and Elizabeth Warren for vice president.

Barbara Lett-Simmons

Barbara Lett-Simmons (June 4, 1927 – December 22, 2012) was an American politician. She was an openly faithless elector in the 2000 presidential election when she refused to cast her votes in the Electoral College.

Electoral history of Dick Cheney

Electoral history of Dick Cheney, 46th Vice President of the United States (2001–2009), 17th United States Secretary of Defense (1989–1993), United States Representative from Wyoming (1979–1989, including Minority Whip, 1989) and White House Chief of Staff (1975–1977)

Wyoming's At-large congressional district, 1978 (Republican primary):

Wyoming's At-large congressional district, 1978:

Wyoming's At-large congressional district, 1980:

Wyoming's At-large congressional district, 1982:

Wyoming's At-large congressional district, 1984:

Wyoming's At-large congressional district, 1986:

Wyoming's At-large congressional district, 1988

United States Secretary of Defense, 1989 (Confirmation in the United States Senate):

Yea – 92

Nay – 0

Not voting – 82000 Republican National Convention (Vice Presidential tally):

Dick Cheney – 2,066 (100.00%)2000 United States presidential election:

George W. Bush/Dick Cheney (R) – 50,460,110 (47.9%) and 271 electoral votes (30 states carried)

Al Gore/Joe Lieberman (D) – 51,003,926 (48.4%) and 266 electoral votes (20 states and D.C. carried)

Abstaining – 1 electoral vote (Washington, D.C. faithless elector)

Ralph Nader/Winona LaDuke (Green) – 2,883,105 (2.7%)

Pat Buchanan/Ezola Foster (Reform) – 449,225 (0.4%)

Harry Browne/Art Olivier (Libertarian) – 384,516 (0.4%)

Howard Phillips/Curtis Frazier (Constitution) – 98,022 (0.1%)

John Hagelin/Nat Goldhaber (Natural Law) – 83,702 (0.1%)

Others – 54,652 (0.1%)2004 Republican National Convention (Vice Presidential tally):

Dick Cheney – unamiously2004 United States presidential election:

George W. Bush/Dick Cheney (R) (inc.) – 62,040,610 (50.73%) and 286 electoral votes (31 states carried)

John Kerry/John Edwards (D) – 59,028,444 (48.27%) and 251 electoral votes (19 states and D.C. carried)

John Edwards (D) – 1 electoral vote (Minnesota faithless elector)

Ralph Nader/Peter Camejo (I) – 465,650 (0.38%)

Michael Badnarik/Richard Campagna (Libertarian) – 397,265 (0.32%)

Michael Peroutka/Chuck Baldwin (Constitution) – 143,630 (0.12%)

David Cobb/Pat LaMarche (Green) – 119,859 (0.096%)

Electoral history of George W. Bush

George W. Bush, 43rd President of the United States (2001–2009); 46th Governor of Texas (1995–2000).

Texas's 19th congressional district, 1978 (Republican primary):

George W. Bush – 6,296 (47.52%)

Jim Reese – 5,498 (41.50%)

Joe Hickox – 1,455 (10.98%)Texas's 19th congressional district, 1978 (Republican primary runoff):

George W. Bush – 6,802 (55.77%)

Jim Reese – 5,395 (44.23%)Texas's 19th congressional district, 1978:

Kent Hance (D) – 54,729 (53.24%)

George W. Bush (R) – 48,070 (46.76%)Republican Texas gubernatorial primary, 1994:

George W. Bush – 520,130 (93.32%)

Ray Hollis – 37,210 (6.68%)Texas gubernatorial election, 1994:

George W. Bush (R) – 2,350,994 (53.48%)

Ann Richards (D) (inc.) – 2,016,928 (45.88%)

Keary Ehlers (Lib.) – 28,320 (0.64%)Republican Texas gubernatorial primary, 1998:

George W. Bush (inc.) – 576,528 (96.60%)

R.C. Crawford – 20,311 (3.40%)Texas gubernatorial election, 1998:

George W. Bush (R) (inc.) – 2,550,821 (68.24%)

Garry Mauro (D) – 1,165,592 (31.18%)

Lester Turlington (Lib.) – 20,711 (0.55%)

Susan Lee Solar (write-in) – 954 (0.03%)2000 United States presidential election (Republican primaries):

George W. Bush – 12,034,676 (62.00%)

John McCain – 6,061,332 (31.23%)

Alan Keyes – 985,819 (5.08%)

Steve Forbes – 171,860 (0.89%)

Unpledged – 61,246 (0.32%)

Gary Bauer – 60,709 (0.31%)

Orrin Hatch – 15,958 (0.08%)

Al Gore (write-in) – 1,155 (0.01%)

Bill Bradley (write-in) – 1,025 (0.01%)2000 United States presidential election:

George W. Bush/Dick Cheney (R) – 50,460,110 (47.9%) and 271 electoral votes (30 states carried)

Al Gore/Joe Lieberman (D) – 51,003,926 (48.4%) and 266 electoral votes (20 states and D.C. carried)

Abstaining – 1 electoral vote (faithless elector from D.C.)

Ralph Nader/Winona LaDuke (Green) – 2,883,105 (2.7%)

Pat Buchanan/Ezola B. Foster (Reform) – 449,225 (0.4%)

Harry Browne/Art Olivier (Libertarian) – 384,516 (0.4%)

Howard Phillips/Curtis Frazier (Constitution) – 98,022 (0.1%)

John Hagelin/Nat Goldhaber (Natural Law) – 83,702 (0.1%)2004 United States presidential election:

George W. Bush/Dick Cheney (R) (inc.) – 62,040,610 (50.7%) and 286 electoral votes (31 states carried)

John Kerry/John Edwards (D) – 59,028,111 (48.3%) and 251 electoral votes (19 states and D.C. carried)

John Edwards (D) – 1 electoral vote (faithless elector from Minnesota)

Faith Spotted Eagle

Faith Spotted Eagle (Dakota: Tunkan Inajin Win or Tȟuŋkáŋ Inážiŋ Win pronounced [tˣuŋkáŋ ináʒiŋ win] "Standing Stone"; born 1948) is a Native American activist and politician. She is a member of the Yankton Sioux Nation who attempted to block development of the Keystone XL pipeline and the Dakota Access Pipeline.In the 2016 presidential election, she became the first Native American to receive an electoral vote for President of the United States as well as one of the first two women to receive an electoral vote for President of the United States. Spotted Eagle's single vote came from Robert Satiacum Jr., a faithless elector in Washington, who cast it for her instead of Hillary Clinton.

Faithless electors in the 2016 United States presidential election

In the 2016 United States presidential election, ten members of the U.S. Electoral College voted for a candidate different from whom they were pledged to vote.

This movement, dubbed the "Hamilton Electors", was co-founded by Micheal Baca and Bret Chiafalo. The movement attempted to find 37 Republican electors willing to vote for a more moderate Republican in an effort to put country above party.

Three of these votes were invalidated by their respective states, reverting to the pledged candidate. As a result, the Democratic Party nominee, Hillary Clinton, lost five of her pledged electors while the Republican Party nominee and then president-elect, Donald Trump, lost two. Three of the faithless electors voted for Colin Powell while John Kasich, Ron Paul, Bernie Sanders, and Faith Spotted Eagle each received one vote.The three additional electors who initially voted against their Clinton pledge had their votes invalidated according to local statutes and were replaced or forced to vote again. The defections fell well short of the number needed to change the result of the election; only two of the seven defected from the winner, when 35 were needed to defect in order to force a run-off vote by congress (a tally of less than 270).

Although there had been a combined total of 167 instances of individual electors voting faithlessly in over two centuries of previous US presidential elections, 2016 was the first election in over a hundred years in which multiple electors worked to alter the result of the election in order to "vote their conscience for the good of America" in accordance with Alexander Hamilton's Federalist Paper No. 68. Electors were subjected to public pressure, including death threats.Seven electors successfully cast faithless ballots for president, the most to defect from presidential candidates who were still alive in Electoral College history, surpassing the six electors who defected from James Madison in the 1808 election.Historically, this number of defections has been exceeded only once. In 1872, a record 63 of 66 electors originally pledged to losing candidate Horace Greeley cast their votes for someone else (Greeley had died between election day and the meeting of the Electoral College). The six faithless vice-presidential votes in 2016 is short of the record for that office, without considering whether the vice-presidential candidates were still living, as multiple previous elections have had more than six faithless vice-presidential votes; in 1836, faithless electors moved the vice-presidential decision to the U.S. Senate, though this did not affect the outcome.

Henry D. Irwin

Henry D. Irwin (October 22, 1917 – September 3, 1988) was a Republican presidential elector (from Oklahoma) for the 1960 U.S. presidential election who became a "faithless elector" when he declined to vote as pledged.

Lloyd W. Bailey

Lloyd W. Bailey is a faithless elector, physician and ophthalmologist, now retired, from Rocky Mount, North Carolina, who achieved notoriety during the 1968 U.S. presidential election when he became the 145th faithless elector in the history of the United States Electoral College.

Michael Dukakis 1988 presidential campaign

The 1988 presidential campaign of Michael Dukakis began when he announced his candidacy for the Democratic Party's 1988 presidential nomination on March 16, 1987, in a speech in Boston. After winning the nomination, he was formally crowned the Democratic Party's nominee at the party's convention in Atlanta, Georgia on July 21, 1988. He lost the 1988 election to his Republican opponent George H. W. Bush, who was the sitting Vice President at the time. Dukakis won 10 states and the District of Columbia, receiving a total of 111 electoral votes compared to Bush's 426 (Dukakis would have received 112, but one faithless elector who was pledged to him voted for Bentsen for president and Dukakis for vice president instead out of protest). Dukakis received 46% of the popular vote to Bush's 54%. Many commentators blamed Dukakis' loss on the embarrassing photograph of him in a tank taken on September 13, 1988, which subsequently formed the basis of a successful Republican attack ad. Much of the blame was also laid on Dukakis' campaign, which was criticized for being poorly managed despite being well funded.

Robert Satiacum Jr.

Robert Satiacum (born 1959/60) is an American political and environmental activist and member of the Puyallup tribe of Washington. He served as a Democratic presidential elector for the 2016 election. By voting for Faith Spotted Eagle, the first Native American to receive an electoral vote for president, Satiacum did not vote as pledged, and as such is regarded as a faithless elector.

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