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Connecticut News

Conn. Rep. Eyes "Faithless Elector" Laws

Matt Lesser is Deputy Majority Leader of the state Senate.
Courtesy of Connecticut Democrats
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Matt Lesser is Deputy Majority Leader of the state Senate.

In Connecticut, there is no penalty or process for cancelling an Electoral College vote if any of the seven electors go against the popular vote. That could be an issue if the tight presidential race hovers around the 270 electoral college votes required to win.

Connecticut is one of more than three dozen states that requires an elector vote along with the popular vote, but it would still count a so-called deviant vote as cast in the Electoral College.

Matt Lesser is Deputy Majority Leader of the state Senate. Lesser plans to pose the question to his colleagues on Friday, as vote counts continue.

“Right now, if an elector goes rogue, there’s not a lot we can do about it," Lesser says, "What the [U.S.] Supreme Court has said, 9-0, is that states can say no, we really do think the public’s will should be obeyed and I think it makes sense to join with our sister states and do that.”

Lesser says Connecticut would have to call a special legislative session to take up the so-called “faithless elector” issue. He says lawmakers would likely wait to see if the presidential race remains tight.

“It could be a super close race, in which case a faithless elector could influence the outcome of the presidential race. That would be really concerning, but if it turns out that Vice President Biden has a pretty large lead, that would be less of a concern.”

Ten electors in states outside of Connecticut cast votes for people like Colin Powell in the last Electoral College, even though Powell did not run for president in 2016.

Maine is the only state in New England that cancels the vote of a rogue or "deviant" elector.