Q&AZ: What Laws Does Arizona Have Against Faithless Electors?

Published: Friday, November 20, 2020 - 6:26pm
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A listener asked through KJZZ's Q&AZ project what specific laws does Arizona have against faithless electors.

Only 156 presidential electors have voted for someone other than the winner of the popular vote since our country began, according to the Brookings Institute.

That means these so-called "faithless electors" have popped up before, but will it happen this year in Arizona? Not likely.

Arizona has a specific law banning faithless electors. Arizona Revised Statute 16-212 states that presidential electors must vote for whichever presidential candidate earned the most votes.

"A presidential elector who knowingly refuses to cast that elector's electoral college vote as prescribed ... is no longer eligible to hold the office of presidential elector and that office is deemed and declared vacant by operation of law," the statute reads.

Should an elector decide to go rogue, the statue explains the chair of winning state political party would then select a replacement elector who would vote for the winner of the popular vote.

Thirty-two states and Washington have similar laws. Just this summer, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously held up these laws as constitutional. At the time, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich applauded the decision, saying it respected the will of the voters.

"Our elections must never be thrust into chaos by rogue actors failing to carry out their responsibilities. Respecting the authority of states to bind presidential electors to the will of the voters is a big victory for Arizona and our country," Brnovich said in response to the July ruling.

The lists of Arizona's Democratic and Republican presidential electors are available at the Secretary of State's website. Democrat Joe Biden remains over 10,000 votes ahead as of Friday evening, so should his win be certified, the Democratic slate of electors for Arizona will include:

  • Steve Gallardo, member of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors
  • Luis Alberto Heredia, executive director of the Arizona Education Association and executive committee member of the Democratic National Convention
  • Constance Jackson, president of the Pinal County NAACP
  • Sandra D. Kennedy, Arizona Corporation Commissioner
  • Stephen Roe Lewis, governor of the Gila River Indian Community
  • James McLaughlin, president of the Arizona AFL-CIO
  • Jonathan Nez, president of the Navajo Nation
  • Ned Norris, chairman of the Tohono O’odham Nation
  • Regina Romero, mayor of the city of Tucson
  • Felecia Rotellini, chair of the Arizona Democratic Party
  • Fred Yamashita, executive director of the Arizona AFL-CIO

→ More Arizona Election News

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