Electoral College

Updated at 5:40 p.m. ET

The U.S. Supreme Court has unanimously upheld laws across the country that remove or punish rogue Electoral College delegates who refuse to cast their votes for the presidential candidate they were pledged to support.

The decision Monday was a loss for "faithless electors," who argued that under the Constitution they have discretion to decide which candidate to support.

Updated on Wednesday, May 13, at 3:45 p.m. ET

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Supreme Court has over two weeks heard oral arguments remotely, with audio streaming live for the public — a first for the court.

The arguments included high-profile cases about religious freedom, President Trump's financial records and the Electoral College.

For each case, both sides had the same amount of time, beginning with two minutes of uninterrupted argument. Then, each justice was allotted two minutes for questioning.

The U.S. has had two recent presidential elections in which the winner of the popular vote — Al Gore in 2000 and Hillary Clinton in 2016 — ultimately lost to the challenger for the seat.

That's because the U.S. has an Electoral College — each state gets a number of votes (by representative electors) in the Electoral College that's proportional to its population. And 48 of the 50 states (Maine and Nebraska are the exceptions) have been awarding those electoral votes on a winner-takes-all basis.

Editor's Note on April 8, 2020: With the Democratic primary now down to one candidate, we're no longer updating the below graphic. But you can still see the stances of all candidates — past and present — below.


Aside from having proposals for programs they would like to implement, Democratic presidential candidates have proposals for how they would like government to function.

The Supreme Court may be eager to portray itself as an apolitical institution. But this term, political questions writ large are knocking at the high court door.

The upcoming term will almost surely be a march to the right on almost every issue that is a flashpoint in American society. Among them: abortion, guns, gay rights, the separation of church and state, immigration and presidential power.

President Hillary Clinton?

That might have been the result of the 2016 presidential election — if the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact were in effect.

With a state Senate vote Tuesday, Nevada is close to becoming the latest state to drop the traditional practice of awarding all its electors to the presidential candidate who won the state. Instead, Nevada would award its six electors to whomever receives the most votes across the entire country.

At a time of deep disenchantment with the political system, dramatic proposals to upend how politics are conducted are starting to resonate with voters.

Six Democratic 2020 presidential candidates have recently expressed support for abolishing the Electoral College. U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren said in a recent Mississippi town hall that “everybody ought to have to come and ask for your vote,” and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Steve Buttigieg pushed for the college’s elimination on the first day of his presidential exploratory campaign.

Most people in America want the Electoral College gone, and they want to select a president based on who gets the most votes nationally, polls say.

Democratic presidential candidates are weighing in too.

"Every vote matters," said Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., in Mississippi on Monday. "And the way we can make that happen is that we can have national voting and that means get rid of the Electoral College."

That line garnered one of her largest roars of applause for the evening.

Gregg says that change would radicalize politics.

An attempt at an Electoral College workaround is gaining momentum in the Mountain West.

Democrats in Colorado and New Mexico are pushing ahead with legislation to pledge their 14 collective electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote — no matter who wins each state.

The plan only goes into effect if the law passes in states representing an electoral majority. That threshold is 270 votes, which is the same number needed to win the presidency.

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