Minnesota Law Prevents “Faithless Electors” From Casting Presidential Ballots

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If Minnesota presidential electors want to vote for someone other than Hillary Clinton on Monday, they won’t be allowed to vote. Minnesota’s Faithful Elector Act guarantees that the person who won the state’s popular vote for president gets the state’s ten electoral votes. Clinton won Minnesota’s popular vote over Donald Trump by 44,765 votes.

Presidential electors across the country have been lobbied in recent days to be “faithless electors” and vote for someone other than Trump to prevent him from getting the needed 270 to be elected president. Even electors pledged to Hillary Clinton have been lobbied to support another Republican such as Ohio Governor John Kasich.

If that should happen in Minnesota, Secretary of State Steve Simon will have to reject it, according to Minnesota statute 208.46 B.

Except as otherwise provided by law of this state other than this chapter, the secretary of state may not​ accept and may not count either an elector’s presidential or vice-presidential ballot if the elector has not​ marked both ballots or has marked a ballot in violation of the elector’s pledge.​

Minnesota requires electors to sign a pledge well in advance of the presidential election saying they will vote for the presidential and vice-presidential candidates of the party that nominated them as electors.

If one of Minnesota’s electors voted for someone other than Hillary Clinton or even left the ballot blank, Simon would need to choose another elector to cast a ballot.

An elector who refuses to present a ballot, presents an unmarked ballot, or presents a ballot marked​ in violation of the elector’s pledge executed under section 208.43 or 208.45, paragraph (c), vacates the office​ of elector, creating a vacant position to be filled under section 208.45.​

The law says Simon would first turn to the alternate elector. If that person is not present or does not vote for Clinton, the remaining Clinton electors can nominate anyone to serve as an elector. They would then vote on that elector. If there’s a tie, the winner is chosen by lot.

Other states have laws that fine electors if they vote for someone other than the candidate they said they would support. In Minnesota, there is no such fine. Their vote just doesn’t get counted.

Minnesota’s ten electoral votes for president will be cast Monday at noon. You can watch live video of the event on The UpTake.

Minnesota’s Presidential Elector Laws

(The “Uniform Faithful Electors Act” starts with section 208.40 on page three of this document)

MN Electors- MN Section 208 by mcint011 on Scribd

Michael McIntee

Michael McIntee is a former network TV news executive with more than 30 years of broadcasting experience. He began his broadcasting career at the University of Minnesota's student radio station. He is an expert producer, writer, video editor who has a fondness for new technology but denies that he is a geek. More about Michael McIntee »

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