There may be the right mix of presidential campaigning and high political interest to make the Uniform Faithful Presidential Electors Act a strong possibility for your state in 2016.
If the presidential election is expected to be close, the political circumstances may be such that BOTH major political parties would actually like a change in state law to make it more certain that presidential electors follow the popular vote of their states.
The Uniform Faithful Presidential Electors Act is designed to avoid the time when a “faithless elector” decides to not follow the state’s popular vote and instead casts an electoral ballot for a different candidate. States that have already adopted the act are Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, and Nevada.
There have been instances of “faithless electors” in our nation’s history. There is also anecdotal evidence that some presidential candidates have planned to attempt to persuade electors to be faithless if it would actually change the results in the Electoral College voting.
Some states have laws that require presidential electors to follow the popular vote in their states, but most such statutes have no effective enforcement mechanism, which is problematic given the time frame involved for the meeting of the Electoral College required by the U.S. Constitution.
Some states have no laws requiring presidential electors to follow the popular vote. However, most voters certainly think that the winner of the popular vote for president will get that state’s electoral votes. (Actually, most people probably do not even know that there is an electoral college. And only Nebraska does not have a winner-takes-all allocation of electoral votes, but that’s another story!)
The UFPEA has been enacted by four states. It has not faced any opposition because it puts into law what people probably think already exists. It is truly a “good government” uniform act. If you would like to know more about the “politics” of getting the act passed, call Commissioners Jack Davies (MN) or Larry Ruth (NE) who worked on it in their states for passage. And the Drafting Committee has others who stand ready to assist. Contact the ULC Staff Contact Katie Robinson for more details.
Commissioner Larry Ruth, Nebraska
Member, Standby Committee on Uniform Faithful Presidential Electors Act