March 20, 2016 — The Washington Post has published on op-ed by Pepperdine Law professor Derek Muller entitled “The electoral college could still stop Trump, even if he wins the popular vote.” The article discusses the possibility that state legislators could use their constitutional authority to change how the American people elect the president.
Excerpted from the Washington Post:
If they choose, state legislators can appoint presidential electors themselves this November, rather than leaving the matter of apportioning electoral college votes by popular vote. Then, via their chosen electors, legislatures could elect any presidential candidate they prefer.
Remember, Americans don’t directly elect the president. The electoral college does: Slates of electors pledged to support presidential and vice presidential candidates are voted upon in each state every four years. Each state, and the District of Columbia, is apportioned at least three of the 538 electors, allocated by the total number of U.S. senators and House members each state has.
In December, these electors will gather in their respective states and cast votes for president and vice president. And in January, Congress counts these votes, determines if a candidate has achieved a majority — at least 270 votes — and then certifies a winner.
We take it for granted that the individual votes we cast will be the ones that select the slate of presidential electors in our state. But the Constitution makes no such guarantee. In fact, it says the states appoint electors “in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct.”
The complete article can be found here.