When Americans cast their ballot, they are actually voting for a block of electors who, in turn, vote for a certain presidential candidate. In every state except Maine and Nebraska, the winner of the popular vote earns all of the state’s Electoral College votes.
Still, laws suggest that the two parties take great pains to prevent faithless voting.
“It’s not like [the electors] are necessarily entrenched party leaders who you can always rely on,” Rob Richie, the executive director of FairVote, a nonprofit that advocates a switch to a national popular vote. “That fear is out there, though it hasn’t really ever played out in history.”
Correction: Nov. 5, 5:15 p.m.
An earlier version of this story gave the wrong name for an Electoral College expert at Ohio Northern University. His name is Robert Alexander.
Terri Henderson, 6, center, whose mother is El Salvador, attends a rally with members of Congress at Union Station's Columbus Circle to announce the Restore Opportunity, Strengthen, and Improve the Economy (ROSIE) Act on July 29, 2014. The legislation provides incentives for government contractors to pay a living wage and other benefits that would help low-income workers.