When heading out to the polls in two weeks, voters will probably be worrying about who they will vote for or who their fellow citizens will give their votes to. What should be on their mind now? The electors. The people who actually give the candidates the numbers of electoral votes that they need to win.
In a flawless electoral system, electors would cast their votes for the candidate that won the largest majority in their state. Americans have come to expect that electors will faithfully translate the popular vote into the electoral vote. Unfortunately there is no certainty that electors will actually choose to vote this way.
In a recent survey conducted by The Associated Press, as many as five republican electors said that they would not vote for Romney even if he won the overall majority in their state. These republicans were unhappy with Romney’s victory in the primary elections and will not work to overcome their disappointment even if Romney is who the citizens want. With an election that’s predicted to be very close, these rogue electors could really make a difference. If one elector chooses not to follow the popular majority, they could cause hundreds of thousands of votes to be worthless.
In 2008 alone, 80% of electors were contacted by lobbying groups with campaign materials, bribes, and even some death threats. About 12% of these electors said that the materials e-mailed to them by these groups did persuade them and make them consider voting against the majority.
These tactics are not new and have been used since the 1980’s when Ronald Reagan sent out personal letters to every republican elector. If candidates and their supporting organisations are thinking about the possibility of rogue electors, why aren’t we? More states should move to pass the Uniform Faithful Presidential Electors Act as soon as possible to ensure that each vote will count and that electors are not able to overlook the majority.