Note: This page was last updated on July 7, 2020. If you have any questions or comments please contact Ashley Houghton, AHoughton@fairvote.org.
There are 33 states (plus the District of Columbia) that require electors to vote for a pledged candidate. Most of those states (16 plus DC) nonetheless do not provide for any penalty or any mechanism to prevent the deviant vote from counting as cast. Five states provide a penalty of some sort for a deviant vote, and 14 states provide for the vote to be canceled and the elector replaced (two states do both). The constitutionality of these laws was upheld by the Supreme Court in Chiafalo v. Washington on July 6, 2020.
The Uniform Law Commission has drafted and recommended a law called the Uniform Faithful Presidential Electors Act that provides for electors to pledge to vote for a candidate, and for them to be replaced with an alternate in the event that they do not vote as pledged. As of October 2019, that Act has been adopted by Indiana, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, and Washington.