Editor’s Note: This piece is about what few of us know, namely how common it is for electors to be harassed, and what forms that harassment takes. It’s also about the concept of “faith” among electors. This two time Republican elector says no electors he has ever encountered have voted against their party. Please limit comments to factual observations about the U.S. Electoral College. When I find a source who knows and is willing to speak of something from direct experience, I try to clear space for that person to say their piece, without embedding it. I don’t know about you, but this testimony stunned me.
You needn’t be too cynical about the prospect of bribing electors… at
least not among Republican electors. I have served two terms in the
Electoral College… in 2000, when Bush-Cheney won with only a two vote margin in the Electoral College, 271 to 266, and again in 2004 when the margin was a bit more comfortable.
The problems occurred in 2000 when the final decision rested on certifying the Florida count. That put Bush-Cheney over the top by just two electoral votes. Unfortunately, someone from the Democrat side obtained a list of names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all 271 Republican electors and published it all on the Internet.
My first bribe offer came by telephone from London. I can’t recall how many bribery offers I received but any one of us could have had $5 million in a Swiss bank account by merely saying, “Yes, I’ll agree to be a faithless elector. Show me the cash.” There were also many death threats. In fact, the danger was such that many of the governors brought the Republican electors to their respective state capitals a day early and put us up in undisclosed locations. We were also advised to travel to the state capital with a handgun within easy reach.
What I remember most about that experience is sitting at a large conference table in the governor’s office and writing in the names of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney on the ballot that was placed before me. As I did so, I was so proud to know that, of the 271 Republican electors across the country who had pledged to vote for the Republican candidates for president and vice president, every single one of us, all 271, ignored all the money that was available to us and did exactly as we had sworn to do.
–Outtake of a longer piece by Paul Hollrah, two time member of the U.S. Electoral College, re-published with his permission