Today’s The Day

The Electors will meet to either Rubber Stamp the result of a broken system, or actually vote their consciences for the good of the country

Lisa Rein
Lisa Rein
Dec 19, 2016 · 3 min read

The Electors can choose today. They are not just “cogs.”

Dear Electors, you are not cogs

You were created by our Founders for a reason. Not to be cogs in a wheel, but to be men and women exercising judgment.

Today the Electors will cast their ballots for the next President of the United States. For better or worse, that is our current system in action.

Since Donald Trump is a rather constitutionally compromised President, specifically with regard to the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause. (Stephen Colbert also explains the subject quite well.)

The electors could choose to vote their conscience, and choose Hillary, or send the decision to the Republican-controlled House to choose, or merely make a statement by abstaining from voting for Trump.

Lawrence Lessig and friends, over at have been trying to help electors learn about their rights as quickly as they can, informing them of their constitutional option to “vote their conscience.” The group has also been keeping a count of how many other electors are seriously considering doing this. Lessig has kept the tally at 20 for now, up from “one” just a week ago. (Others have tried to say higher than 20, but Lessig prefers the conservative estimate of 20.)

Christopher Suprun, an elector in Texas, announce on December 5th that he will not cast his ballot for Trump, but there need to be at least 36 more like him, in order for anything meaningful to have a chance to happen.

As Lessig explained yesterday, the electors have a few different options:

In my view, an elector can in good conscience say,

“despite my pledge, I cannot vote for a man who refuses to comply with the requirements of the Constitution’s Foreign Bribery Clause,”


“despite my pledge, I cannot vote for a man who has likely and knowingly benefited from foreign involvement in our elections. Or at a minimum, until the facts are known, I must abstain.”

These are not obvious conclusions. They are certainly not compelled. But in the incredibly difficult weighing that electors are now called upon to make, they are plainly defensible.

And what might happen to an elector that decides to vote this way? Nothing, since the folks just received an opinion from a Judge Friday night saying that states don’t have the authority to restrict electors’ constitutional freedoms (when they attempt vote their conscience).

From Lessig’s post:

The case, Baca v. Hinkenlooper, asked the court to enjoin application of laws that purported to restrict the freedom of electors to cast a vote of conscience…But in the language of the Court’s opinion, we struck gold.

The Court made it clear that while the state has plenary authority to determine how electors are selected, the state has no power ultimately to control how electors can vote.

This is a victory. It is the whole theory under which electors have a constitutional discretion to exercise their own judgment. And tomorrow, we will be deploying this authority — along with the Supreme Court’s decision in Ray v. Blair (1952) — in every state we can in which officials try to negate that constitutional privilege. (Not an inexpensive enterprise, by the way, so if you can help, we’d be grateful. We have committed to returning any funds beyond what we need to cover the costs of this project. So please help if you can.)

Here’s hoping the electors will listen to my song and think hard about their decision :-)

Remember, whatever happens, we must stick together in the days and weeks to come. Thanks everyone.