Connected successfully  The Okie Legacy: Vol 18, Iss 45 Electoral College

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                             Volume 18, Issue 45 -- 2016-12-18                     

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Electoral College


What are the qualifications to be an Elector? The U.S. constitution contains very few provisions relating to the qualifications of Electors. Article II, section 1, clause 2 provides that no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector. The 14th Amendment provides that state officials who have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the Untied States or given aid and comfort to its enemies are disqualified from serving as electors. This prohibition relates to the post-Civil War era.

According to the National Archives and Records Administration, there is no Constitutional provision or Federal law that requires Electors to vote according to the results of the popular vote in their states. There are some states that require electors to cast their votes according to the popular vote. These pledges fall into two categories - Electors bound by state law and those bound by pledges to political parties.

Also, 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. There are 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 been forced under the Constitution. No Elector has ever been prosecuted for failing to vote as pledged.

Electors generally hold a leadership position in their party or were chosen to recognize years of loyal service to the party. Throughout history as a nation, more than 99% of Electors have voted as pledged.

The National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) have compiled a brief summary of state laws about the various procedures for selecting slates of potential electors and for conducting the meeting of the electors. You can download the Summary: State Laws regarding Presidential Electors, from the NASS website.
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