THE Supreme Court Justices has ruled that states can force presidential electors to back their states’ popular vote this week.
The unanimous ruling on Monday means states can require presidential electors to back their states popular vote winner in the Electoral College.
The news comes just under four months before the 2020 election and leaves in place laws in 32 states and the District of Columbia that bind electors to vote for the popular-vote winner.
So-called faithless electors have not been critical to the outcome of a presidential election.
However, this could change in a race decided by just a few electoral votes: 270 electoral votes are needed to win the presidency.
Justice Elena Kagan wrote for the court that a state may instruct electors that they have no ground for reversing the vote of millions of its citizens before Donald Trump or Joe Biden battle it out at the November polls.
That direction accords with the Constitution as well as with the trust of a Nation that here, We the People rule.
The justices had scheduled arguments for the spring so they could resolve the issue before the election.
This was to avoid a political crisis after the country votes.
Justices invoked fears of bribery and chaos if electors could cast their ballots regardless of the popular vote outcome in their states when the court heard arguments by telephone in May.
The issue arose in lawsuits filed by three Hillary Clinton electors in Washington state, plus one one in Colorado, who refused to vote for her despite her popular vote win in both states.
They hoped to persuade enough electors in states won by Trump to choose someone else and deny him the presidency.
The federal appeals court in Denver ruled that electors can vote as they please, rejecting arguments that they must choose the popular-vote winner.
The state Supreme Court upheld a $1,000 fine against the three electors and rejected their claims in Washington.
In all, there were 10 faithless electors in 2016.
The closest Electoral College margin in recent years was in 2000, when George W. Bush received 271 votes to Al Gore’s 266.
One elector from Washington DC, left her ballot blank.
The Supreme Court played a decisive role in that election by ending a recount in Florida, where Bush held a 537-vote margin out of 6 million ballots cast.
In asking the Supreme Court to rule that states can require electors to vote for the state winner, Colorado had urged the justices not to wait until the heat of a close presidential election.