The Uniform Faithful Presidential Electors Act requires electors pledge to vote for the candidate who received the highest number of votes in the state and directs secretaries of state to replace them with alternates if they violate their pledge.
Testifying in favor of the bill in 2013, state Sen. Pat Spearman said, although the system may have made sense in the 1780s, but warned the prospect of electors voting for candidates other than the winners risked undermining voters’ trust.
“As our presidential elections become more contentious and the margin of the popular vote closes, a faithless elector has the potential to create confusion in the outcome of an election,” she said at a 2013 hearing.
State lawmakers have also passed the bill in Montana, Nebraska, Minnesota, Indiana and, most recently, Washington, where four state electors didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton in 2016 although she won the state popular vote.
Until 2019, faithless electors in Washington faced $1,000 fines for voting for candidates other than the winner. State Sen. Patty Kuderer, the bill’s sponsor, said most people assume — and believe — that elector is a ministerial position. The $1,000 fine, she said, wasn’t enough to bind electors to the winning candidates.