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If the majority of a state's citizens voted for a particular Presidential candidate, could the state legislature override the people's decision after the statewide election?

2 Answers 2

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No. Article II, Section 1, Clause 4 of the United States constitution gives Congress the authority to "determine the Time of chusing the Electors", and Congress has done so (3 U.S.C §1). Whatever choice is made on Election Day according to state law as it existed on Election Day cannot be overridden after Election Day. If the state legislature wants to substitute their judgement for that of the people, they need to do that on or before Election Day. There are other potential constitutional arguments that could be raised, but the above is the most clear-cut one.

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No

Colo. Rev. Stat. § 1-4-304 (5)

Each presidential elector shall vote for the presidential candidate and, by separate ballot, vice-presidential candidate who received the highest number of votes at the preceding general election in this state.

By law, the electors have to vote for the winner of the statewide popular vote. Nobody has the authority to make them do anything else. And if they try to vote differently of their own accord, the Colorado Secretary of State may void their vote and replace them with another elector. This happened in the 2016 election, and the voiding of the vote was eventually upheld by the US Supreme Court (Baca v. Colorado Department of State).

I suppose the legislature might be able to repeal 1-4-304, but the governor could veto, and a 2/3 majority of both chambers would be needed in order to override. There would likely also be court challenges as to whether the repeal could affect an election that had already taken place.

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