A presidential elector is going to court, in a historic protest against the Electoral College system. A lawyer for Michael Baca, a Colorado elector, told Politico that his client is preparing a lawsuit challenging state laws that force electors to vote for their party’s nominee.
There are currently 29 states with laws on the books that bind electors to the election result in their respective states, but those laws have never been enforced. Further, the penalty for violating the law is typically a small fine.
There are at least six “faithless” electors who say they plan to undermine the Electoral College by voting for someone other than their nominee. If they move forward with their protest, it will be the largest electoral defection since 1808, when six Democratic-Republican electors refused to vote for James Madison.
The lawsuit would be predicated on a 1952 Supreme Court ruling in Ray v. Blair. In that case, the court held that electors may be forced to take oaths to support their party’s candidate — but the justices explicitly left open the question of whether those oaths could be enforced if an elector ultimately makes a different decision.