• Foundations of Truth

Faithful Electors Preserve Stable Government

1 Corinthians 4:2 admonishes those who fail to faithfully execute their duties: “Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.” This question of faithfulness is one that permeates all professions but is especially crucial in governance. While radicals and controversial figures often attract a lot of attention, the key to a well-functioning government is to encourage stability so long as that stability does not infringe on the rights of the citizenry. To paraphrase World Bank Analyst Zahid Hussain, this stability comes from such key factors as “the rule of law, strong institutions rather than powerful individuals, an efficient bureaucracy, [and] low corruption.” [1]

During the 2016 election, the concept of faithfulness was put on full display in the context of the electoral college when Microsoft employee Bret Chiafolo was selected as one of the members of the electoral college that casts the deciding the vote for the President-elect. Acting on theories drawn from Alexander Hamilton’s Federalist No. 68, Chiafolo decided to deviate from the law and popular vote of his state to vote for Colin Powell in an effort to inspire other Republican electors to abstain from voting for President Donald Trump. [2]

Chiafolo’s controversial decision led to his being fined $1,000 and found to be in violation of Washington state law since he voted against the will of his state’s popular vote. His actions, along with similar decisions by six other electors, led to the landmark Supreme Court case of Chiafolo et al. v. Washington. In Chiafolo the Court decided that states had the right to pass laws that enable the states to fine electors for voting against the popular vote of the state. [3]

Ultimately, the Court’s decision is based on the idea of predictability: since many states have historically limited their electors to voting for the candidate who wins the popular vote in their state, it would be unwise to change the practice now, especially since the Constitution is largely silent on the matter. [4]

This decision preserves the stability of the rule of law and long-established state institutions. Although this now raises many new questions that will have to be answered, the decision demonstrates a clear example of how a stable government should work. While some have voiced their concerns about electors being made to act against their better judgment, this result would only be the outcome of decisions that were made by the people through fairly elected state representatives who established the laws requiring that electors be faithful.

As it says in Romans 13:1 “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” Even electors must abide by these laws, especially since the laws exist to provide an enforcement mechanism for the state to assert its rights. As it says in Proverbs 20:6: “…but a faithful person who can find?” In the interest of stability and a good society, it is important that states who have sought to ensure the faithfulness of their electors are able to uphold their rule of law.

This decision scored a victory for governmental stability and demonstrates the importance of applying Godly principles of prudence and honesty in all aspects of government.

Foundations of Truth hereby waives all claim of copyright (economic and moral) in this work and immediately places it in the public domain; it may be used, published, edited, and distributed in any manner whatsoever without any attribution or notice to Foundations of Truth.

[1] Zahid Hussain, “Can political stability hurt economic growth?,” World Bank Blog (June 1, 2014), https://blogs.worldbank.org/endpovertyinsouthasia/can-political-stability-hurt-economic-growth

[2] Ed Pilkington, “Faithless electors: US supreme court to weigh role of electoral college members,” The Guardian (May 12, 2020), https://www.theguardian.com/law/2020/may/12/electoral-college-faithless-electors-us-supreme-court

[3] “Chiafolo v. Washington,” Supreme Court.gov (July 6, 2020), https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/19pdf/19-465_i425.pdf

[4] Robert Alexander, “Court's ruling on Electoral College -- chaos could still ensue,” CNN (July 17, 2020), https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/06/opinions/supreme-court-electoral-college-alexander/index.html


Foundations of Truth hereby waive all claim of copyright (economic and moral) in this work and immediately places it in the public domain; it may be used, published, edited, and distributed in any manner whatsoever without any attribution or notice to Foundations of Truth.