Today is the day the next American President “actually” gets elected.
No, really! Never mind the millions who showed up at the polls a little over a month ago, a small, select, even elite group of people actually have the ability to turn it all upside down. They are the members of the “Electoral College”
These 538 people, all of whom are well-known professionals in their respective fields, but never elected or appointed federal officials themselves, ((Sabrina Eaton (October 29, 2004). “Brown learns he can’t serve as Kerry elector, steps down” (PDF), Cleveland Plain Dealer (reprint at Edison Research).)), can, in theory, choose to elect someone other than whom the public has chosen.
Fortunately, laws governing these “faithless electors” help ensure that this doesn’t happen. Generally speaking, members of the EC are pledged to vote for the person who won in their respective state. Although the specifics in each state vary, there are methods of “punishment” in place for those who either don’t vote for the person they were pledged to vote, or who refuse to vote at all.
Nonetheless, imagine what would happen if the entire electoral college decided to vote for someone else. There’s an interesting scenario.
I wonder if it would make a good story…