AG Brnovich Applauds U.S. Supreme Court Ruling Upholding Faithless Elector Law

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 9-0 today, upholding the authority of states to bind presidential electors to the state's popular vote when casting their Electoral College ballots. The case involved combined legal challenges from Colorado and Washington where both states removed or sanctioned rogue "faithless" electors who defied the will of the state's voters by voting for another candidate during the 2016 presidential election.

"Today's ruling is about respecting the will of the voters," said Attorney General Mark Brnovich. "Our elections must never be thrust into chaos by rogue actors failing to carry out their responsibilities. Respecting the authority of states to bind presidential electors to the will of the voters is a big victory for Arizona and our country."

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich was part of an amicus brief involving 45 attorneys general supporting the states of Colorado and Washington, noting that the power to bind electors is a state prerogative that is not precluded by the Constitution. 32 states and the District of Columbia have laws that require presidential electors to vote for a state's pledged candidate. Today's ruling effectively uphold the constitutionality of Arizona law, which prescribes for the vote of the elector to be cancelled and replaced if they fail to vote as pledged based upon the state's popular vote. 

ARS 16-212 states: "A presidential elector who knowingly refuses to cast that elector's electoral college vote as no longer eligible to hold the office of presidential elector and that office is deemed and declared vacant by operation of law."

The question presented before the U.S. Supreme Court was: "Do Article II, Section 1 or the Twelfth Amendment of the United States Constitution forbid a state from binding its presidential electors to the state’s popular vote when casting their Electoral College ballots?"

Justice Thomas wrote that "nothing in the Constitution prevents States from requiring Presidential electors to vote for the candidate chosen by the people."