One State Claims The Most Faithless Electors

The electoral college voted on Monday, and the biggest surprise was that there weren’t any surprises: A handful of faithless electors aside, Donald Trump easily cleared the 270 electoral votes needed to become the next president. However, a couple of electors did indeed go rogue, and one state had more faithless electors than any other.

That would be the state of Washington, where four Democratic electors jumped ship and voted for somebody other than Hillary Clinton. Three of them voted for Colin Powell, another former Secretary of State, instead, while a fourth cast a vote for Faith Spotted Eagle, a Native American activist.

The state with the second-highest number of faithless electors was Texas. Two Republican electors went rogue and cast their votes for John Kasich and Ron Paul, respectively, two former Republican presidential candidates.

Lastly, we have Hawaii, where a lone Democratic elector cast his vote for Bernie Sanders.

The faithless electors from Washington all risk a $1,000 fine for having voted for somebody other than Clinton, as state law prohibits electors from being faithless electors. Hawaii also has a law on the books that requires electors to vote in accordance with the state’s popular vote; however, the law doesn’t actually prescribe a punishment for people who violate it, so the Hawaiian elector will not face any legal ramifications for his defection. Texas has no laws against faithless electors.


Several electors also refused to vote for their party’s vice presidential candidate. In Washington, Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Susan Collins and Maria Cantwell all received one electoral vote for vice president, as did Winona LaDuke, the 2000 vice presidential nominee of the Green Party. Furthermore, one elector in Texas voted for Trump’s Republican primary rival Carly Fiorina for vice president.

In addition to this, there were several would-be faithless electors who were either removed before the vote or had their ballots invalidated. In Maine, a Democratic elector initially cast his ballot for Sanders, but the vote was ruled improper under state law, and he switched his vote to Clinton. A similar episode played out in Minnesota, where an elector attempted to vote for Sanders and was replaced by a Clinton loyalist as a result. In Colorado, a Democratic elector was replaced after attempting to vote for Kasich.

All in all, the drama surrounding the electoral college vote turned out to be little more than a fizzle. However, this year’s electors did deliver one dubious achievement to the president-elect: When he takes office in January, Trump will be the first president in over 200 years to lose more than one electoral vote to faithless electors. That won't have any practical effect on this presidency, but he probably won't be very happy about it.