Federal court ruling undermines progressive plans to sidestep Electoral College in 2020: Report

August 23, 2019

Ever since Donald Trump won the White House in the Electoral College despite losing the national popular vote, many Democrats — including New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — have spoken at length about ways to sidestep (or abolish) the Electoral College to ensure that whoever wins the popular vote is declared the national winner.

Unfortunately for them, a major circuit court ruling has just undermined their best plan in that regard, effectively nullifying a compact between states who have already pledged their electoral votes in 2020 to whichever candidate wins the national popular vote, according to Fox News.

The rogue elector

The three-judge panel of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the state of Colorado on Tuesday in a case that stemmed from the 2016 election.

The case involved an elector from Colorado who had opted not to follow state law on Election Night 2016, according to the Associated Press. While Colorado requires electors to vote for the winner of the state’s popular vote, this elector checked his ballot for then-Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

This prompted state officials to replace the “rogue elector” with an elector who promised to choose the state’s winner, Hillary Clinton — and a lawsuit ensued alleging that the state mishandled the situation.

After a series of appeals, the 10th Circuit finally ruled 2-1 Tuesday that while states have the constitutional authority to appoint electors to the Electoral College at their discretion, it’s ultimately up to the electors who they cast they their votes for.

“Article II and the Twelfth Amendment provide presidential electors the right to cast a vote for President and Vice President with discretion,” the split decision read. “And the state does not possess countervailing authority to remove an elector and to cancel his vote in response to the exercise of that Constitutional right.”

A crippling blow

The 10th Circuit’s ruling looks to have dealt a crippling blow to the interstate National Popular Vote compact, an agreement involving 15 states and the District of Columbia who have all promised to require their respective electors to cast their votes for the winner of the national popular vote, regardless of which candidate wins their state.

Based on the court’s Tuesday decision, however, it seems the states have no constitutional authority to mandate how their electors vote.

For her part, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez was likely hit especially hard by this ruling; she has been among those at the forefront of the push for the abolition of the Electoral College, an institution that she called a racist “scam” earlier this week.

But in the end, the Electoral College isn’t going anywhere anytime soon — no matter how hard Dems like AOC try to get around it.

Sorry, not sorry.

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Ben Marquis

Ben Marquis is a staff writer for Conservative Institute.