Some may have heard about the Hamilton Electors movement and the subsequent harassment and threatening of Electors going on across the country.
If not, this tweet should give you an idea of the point behind it:
— Hamilton Electors (@HamiltonElector) December 12, 2016
Electors have been receiving thousands of emails from ‘Hamilton Electors’, many containing threats and abusive language. North Carolina is no different.
First, it’s important to understand what an Elector is and how many there are in each state:
- Electors are members of the Electoral College who vote on the positions of President and Vice President in U.S. Elections. The Electoral College was established under Article Two of the U.S. Constitution.
- Each Elector, as proscribed by the Twelfth Amendment, casts a single ballot for each of the two positions – President and Vice President.
- Each state’s number of Electors is the sum of its U.S. senators and U.S. representatives.
- In the case of the District of Columbia , they receive three Electors; that is equal to the number of senators and representatives the District would have if it were allowed Congressional representation.
- 41 days after the popular election, the Electors hold a meeting in their respective states where they cast their ballots for President and Vice President.
- The Electoral College results are certified in January.
- Most Elector votes are bound by state law or by pledges to a party. Some states require Electors to vote according to the winner of the popular vote winner in that given state. Electors often vote or pledge their vote to their political party.
Can Electors change their vote?
Yes, but it is apparently very rare. According to the Federal Register, “Throughout our history as a nation, more than 99 percent of Electors have voted as pledged.”
There may be consequences for switching votes:
The U.S. Supreme Court has held that the Constitution does not require that Electors be completely free to act as they choose and therefore, political parties may extract pledges from electors to vote for the parties’ nominees. Some state laws provide that so-called “faithless Electors” may be subject to fines or may be disqualified for casting an invalid vote and be replaced by a substitute elector. The Supreme Court has not specifically ruled on the question of whether pledges and penalties for failure to vote as pledged may be enforced under the Constitution. No Elector has ever been prosecuted for failing to vote as pledged. – Federal Register
In a press release today, the NC GOP released some examples of the Hamilton Electors emails being sent to North Carolina Electors.
The letters, some from self-proclaimed Hamilton Electors, are shaming in tone overall and one in particular from an 8th grade teacher whose letter seems to be based on personal opinion instead of the Electoral process.
Several were from Attorney’s whose arguments acknowledges state law prohibits Electors from changing their votes but threatens a lawsuit anyway. The NC GOP press release notes on that letter that the attorney’s “solicitation clearly violates the prohibition on direct solicitation by a licensed attorney.”
The press release included email addresses of some of the letter senders.
View the full Release which includes excerpts from Hamilton Electors emails and letters:
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This article has been updated.