Joe Biden has won and/or is projected to win in Arizona, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Nevada. This would give him exactly 270 electoral votes, the number required to become the president.

In 2016, there were a total of 10 faithless electors (highest since 1912) casting ballots for candidates not chosen by their home states. Assuming Trump wins Georgia, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. Biden is supposed to get 270 electoral votes and Trump is supposed to get 268 electoral votes. In this scenario, we would need only one faithless elector from Arizona or Nevada or Michigan, or Wisconsin to cause a tie, 269 to 269.

What penalties if any can be imposed on faithless electors specifically from Arizona, Nevada, Michigan, and Wisconsin? Can legislatures in these states specifically appoint someone to be a faithless elector at this point or after all the votes are counted?

  • 11
    It's probably worth noting that none of those 10 did a simple switch from one Party's ticket to the other. And there is no need for the faithless electors this time around to come from the late calling swing states.
    – Jontia
    Nov 5, 2020 at 15:56
  • 4
    The premise of this question is deeply flawed - for example, in 2016, two faithless electors came from Texas, a state which was called for Trump by AP at 9pm ET on election day.
    – CDJB
    Nov 5, 2020 at 16:13
  • 1
    Don't expect to see faithless electors this election. In 2016 both parties had much more internal division than they do this year, and the electors who switched did so with the knowledge it wouldn't affect the result. Nov 5, 2020 at 16:34

1 Answer 1


According to FairVote, there is no penalty (in terms of fine or prison) for the individual Elector in those states for voting differently to how they are supposed to.

In Arizona, Nevada and Michigan, the vote itself will not count, and the Elector will be replaced. In Wisconsin, the vote will stand.

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