In the wake of the 2016 presidential election, members of the electoral college in Washington and Colorado defied the outcomes of the elections in their respective states to cast their electoral votes for other candidates. When the two states attempted to fine these “faithless electors” for violating state law, the electors challenged it as a violation of their First Amendment rights.

Can states require presidential electors to cast their votes in a particular way? Prof. Michael Morley of Florida State University College of Law discusses faithless electors, state legislatures, and the electoral college in Chiafalo v. Washington.


As always, the Federalist Society takes no particular legal or public policy positions. All opinions expressed are those of the speaker.

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Related Links & Differing Views:

SCOTUSblog: “Opinion analysis: Court upholds ‘faithless elector’ laws”

Arizona Law Review: “Originalism, Constitutional Construction, and the Problem of Faithless Electors”

Reason: “Chiafalo v. Washington Did Not Resolve The Precise Status of Electors”

The Federalist Society: “Courthouse Steps Decision: CO Dept. of State v. Baca and Chiafalo v. WA

Vox: “The Supreme Court decides not to make the Electoral College even worse”