Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Bill to prevent ‘faithless electors’ stalls
Electoral College » Seeks to require Utah electors to vote for Utah winner.
First Published Feb 06 2014 06:24 pm • Last Updated Feb 07 2014 01:35 pm

The House Government Operations Committee wasn’t ready Thursday to require Utah’s official presidential electors to vote for whomever wins the popular vote in the state.

Rep. Brian King, D-Salt Lake City, guesses that most Utahns assume state law commits electors to reflect the majority will, but it doesn’t. His HB299 would force that result, and make it a Class A misdemeanor for an elector to try to go rogue.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

But the committee voted unanimously Thursday to hold the bill, to give King time to answer more questions about whether it is wise to mess with a system designed by the Founding Fathers.

"It would seem it is more of our duty to understand," said Rep. Ken Ivory, R-West Jordan, "why they did it that way in a profound period of political rebirth that has virtually changed the world."But King said much has changed in 200 years since the Electoral College was set up, including better public education and the franchisement of many new voters, including those who were not landowners, people of color, women and young people — and politics has evolved so that most voters expect electors to cast ballots for their state’s winner.

King said Utah law now requires electors chosen by the winner’s political party to vote for that party’s candidate. But it provides no penalty for shirking that mandate, and says that an elector voting for someone else is considered to have resigned and will be replaced.

But King said situations could arise where someone not in a major political party — such as independent Ross Perot in 1992 — could have won the state, and the law should be changed to ensure the winner gets the electoral votes. He added that enacting a criminal penalty for a rogue elector would also help them keep faith.

King said he will attempt to do more historical research, and come back to the committee for a vote.

Cases of faithless electors are rare. Rep. Kevin Grover, R-Provo, said it has happened only nine times since 1948, so he said King’s bill may be "a solution in search of a problem."

Utah has six electoral votes for president — one for each member of Congress. The nation has 538 electors, and a majority of 270 is needed to win.




Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.