Why Are They Called Faithless Electors? Faithless Electors May Vote For Another Candidate

The next president of the United States will be determined on Monday, when the electors who represent their states will gather to finally place their votes. But when the electors meet finalize their votes for President-elect Donald Trump, the voting process might not be the most seamless process. Some electors, called faithless electors, are pledging to vote against Trump. But why are they called faithless electors? They're called faithless because they become unfaithful to their party's decision and place their faith in another candidate.

There has been a lot of talk surrounding the Electoral College in the weeks since it was announced that Trump is indeed going to lead the United States for the next four years — and how people can stop that from happening. Many believe that this power belongs in the hands of the Electoral College — the group of delegates who confirm the next president — with hopes that the vote will change when they meet. This is accomplished through faithless electors — members of the electoral college who do not vote for their party's or state's designated candidate, according to FairVote. By not voting for their party's candidate, faithless electors place their faith in another candidate and go against their party's wishes. Therefore, in order to be faithless on Monday, a Republican elector would have to vote for an alternative, like Ohio Gov. John Kasich or even Democrat Hillary Clinton.


Since the Electoral College was founded, according to FairVote, there have only been 157 faithless electors ever. 71 faithless electors placed their vote in another candidate because their original candidate died. The 83 faithless electors who changed their vote because they didn't like their party's nominee are noted for their protest. Those who want to turn faithless are legally bound to not become faithless — according to NPR, in 29 states and in the District of Columbia, it is illegal for electors to become faithless electors and vote against the way their state voted. 37 Republican electors would have to become faithless for Trump to lose the presidency. According to Politico, only one Republican elector has publicly threatened to vote for another candidate — the rest are likely to vote for Trump.

Unfortunately, faithless electors will more than likely not end up influencing the decision. According to ABC News, the Associated Press interviewed 330 electors and found that both Democrats or Republicans "had little appetite for revolt." Therefore, it is more than likely that Trump will be our president after the vote takes place on Monday.

Faithless electors might not have faith in the president-elect but their party definitely does — it is why Clinton won the popular vote while Trump won the electoral vote. While certain electors might be faithless to Trump and faithful to their conscious, their party is faithful to both — this is why Trump will be confirmed as the president on Monday.