You probably know that the president is chosen by the electoral college, which is made up of electors from each of the fifty states. But did you know that under the constitution how those electors are chosen is decided by state legislatures?
Since the 1800s, every state has chosen to use the popular vote. But state lawmakers can work to change the manner of selecting presidential electors at any point. In fact, in Florida, during the Bush v. Gore recount in 2000, the House put in a bill to choose electors regardless of the vote count. They were ready to move that bill when the Supreme Court decided in Bush’s favor.
This means that state legislative majorities backed by narrow, special interests could potentially steal their electoral votes for Donald Trump after Election Day, even if he loses their state.
What can we do? We can ensure that the legislative majorities elected in November are committed to protecting our democracy, not dismantling it. In states like Florida and Pennsylvania, the new majorities will be in place before the deadline to certify the electors that will decide the presidency. In other states, this kind of power grab from the voters will be harder if the old majority has lost the election.
It’s another reason that the work we are doing to change the balance of power in state legislative chambers could not be more urgent. Will you help us elect state legislative candidates who will fight to protect our democracy?
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