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Supreme Court rules US states can punish ‘faithless electors’

AFP
Washington
The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that US states have the right to remove and punish members of the Electoral College for not backing the presidential candidate whom they pledged to support.
The unanimous ruling, which comes ahead of November’s election between President Donald Trump and Joe Biden, allows states to use measures to bind Electoral College members to their commitments, essentially preventing them from going against the will of a state’s voting majority.
The Electoral College is comprised of 538 electors who translate the popular vote by casting their ballots in favour of the candidate who gets the most votes in each state. Historically, so-called faithless electors have been rare. During the presidential elections organised from 1796 to 2016, only 180 electors have voted contrary to their pledge, according to a document admitted to the court.
Advocates argued that since the Constitution makes no mention of the issue, states should not be allowed to fine or remove electors who do not remain true to their commitments. But all nine justices concluded that states can assure that their electors “have no ground for reversing the vote of millions of its citizens.”