The Green Papers
The Green Papers
Historical Data

Presidential Electors who have defected in the past

Tue 10 Jan 2017

2016: There were 7 "Faithless" Electors (thus setting a record for a given Presidential Election within the definition of such Electors as those who purposely vote for a presidential and/or vice-presidential candidate other than to whom they have been pledged [other (usually earlier than 1948) Electoral Vote anomalies in History are not actually examples of such 'Faithless'ness]). These 7 'Faithless' Electors (presented by State, as well as alphabetically) were as follows:

In addition, a COLORADO Elector, Michael Baca, attempted to vote for John Kasich (instead of Hillary Clinton) and was replaced by Celeste Landry who voted for Mrs. Clinton; a MAINE Elector, David Bright attempted to vote for Bernie Sanders (instead of Hillary Clinton) but was ruled Out of Order and thereafter voted for Mrs. Clinton on a second ballot occasioned by this attempt. A MINNESOTA Elector, Muhammad Abdurrahman, attempted to vote for Senator Bernie Sanders (instead of Hillary Clinton) and was replaced by Jill Garcia who voted for Mrs. Clinton.

2004: An unknown elector, Minnesota
Elector for: Kerry (Democrat)
instead cast a ballot for Senator John Edwards, Senator John Kerry's running mate.
Note: It is believed that one of the Electors evidently mixed up his/her "John"s and inadvertently voted for Edwards for both President and Vice President. Minnesota does not require the Electors to sign either of their ballots. Once gathered at the meeting place, the electors simply deposit pieces of paper with their respective "choices" for each Office into a ballot box, after which these ballots are counted. All 10 of Minnesota's votes for Vice President went to Senator John Edwards. Edwards, thus, becomes only the second vice-presidential candidate to have ended up with more Electoral Votes than the presidential candidate heading the National Ticket on which he ran; moreover, Edwards received both a vote for President and a vote for Vice-President from the same Presidential Elector!

2000: Barbara Lett-Simmons, District of Columbia
Elector for: Gore (Democrat)
instead cast a blank ballot.
Note: Ms. Lett-Simmons cast a blank ballot to protest what many have referred to as D.C.'s "colonial status" (the fact that, although the District of Columbia is incorporated within the United States and is represented by an elected Territorial Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives, it has no voting rights on the floor of Congress; the District's motor vehicle license plates have long had, as a slogan, 'Taxation Without Representation').

1988: Margaret Leach, West Virginia
Elector for: Dukakis (Democrat)
instead voted for: Lloyd Bentsen (Dukakis' running mate)
Note: Ms. Leach cast her Vice Presidential vote for Dukakis instead of Bentsen as well.

1976: Mike Padden, Washington
Elector for: Ford (Republican)
instead voted for: Ronald Reagan (challenged Ford's GOP nomination)
Note: Mr. Padden did, however, vote for Ford's running mate, Robert Dole; Dole thus became the first Vice-Presidential candidate to receive more Electoral Votes than the top of the National Ticket on which he was running.

1972: Roger L. MacBride, Virginia
Elector for: Nixon (Republican)
instead voted for: John Hospers (Libertarian)
Note: Mr. MacBride was the Libertarian candidate for President four years later- in 1976. Meanwhile: Richard Nixon, thus, became the first person to run for President three times and, in all three elections he contested as his Party's standard-bearer, never received all the votes of those Electors pledged to him through their respective "appointments" via the General Election itself.

1968: Lloyd W. Bailey, North Carolina
Elector for: Nixon (Republican)
instead voted for: George Wallace (American Independent)
Note: This led to the (so far) only time the provisions of 3 U.S.C. 15 re: an Electoral Vote not "regularly given" was dealt with formally by Congress. Objections were raised by a number of Senators and Congressmen to the counting of North Carolina in the tabulation Joint Session of the 91st Congress (6 January 1969)- the two houses immediately "rose" to debate and vote separately and "concurred" that Dr. Bailey's vote should be counted as cast, after which the tabulation Joint Session resumed to complete counting the Electoral Vote of the 1968 Presidential Election. It is this result which has been since deemed to have legitimized the "Faithless Elector"- that is, since Congress once actually voted on the issue, it would be hard to claim a "Faithless Elector" had somehow violated Federal law (though, of course, Congress retains the power not to accept a "faithless" Electoral Vote under 3 U.S.C. 15).

1960: Henry D. Irwin, Oklahoma
Elector for: Nixon (Republican)
instead voted for: Harry Flood Byrd, Sr. (supported by "Unpledged" Democrats)

1956: W.F. Turner, Alabama
Elector for: Stevenson (Democrat)
instead voted for: Walter B. Jones, an Alabama judge.

1948: Preston Parks, Tennessee
Elector for: Truman (Democrat)
instead voted for: Strom Thurmond (State's Rights ["Dixiecrat"])

May Electors Defect?
Appointing Electors
Place and Time of Meeting on December 18, 2000
Appointing Electors
Place and Time of Meeting on December 13, 2004

Appointing Electors
Place and Time of Meeting on December 15, 2008
Appointing Electors
Place and Time of Meeting on December 17, 2012
Appointing Electors
Place and Time of Meeting on December 19, 2016
Appointing Electors
Place and Time of Meeting on December 14, 2020

Created Tue 10 Jan 2017. Modified .