US Appeals Court rules electoral college voters aren't bound by popular votes

Wilfred U. Codrington III of the Brennan Center of Justice breaks down the Constitution on how electors are appointed and how it gives state legislators power to appoint whom they want.
4:08 | 08/23/19

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Transcript for US Appeals Court rules electoral college voters aren't bound by popular votes
Now a major development involving the so what Toro college in this country a quiet. Our court case came down late yesterday in the US Court of Appeals. That could change the way that we elect presidents in the United States as you or call there are 538. Electors who actually do the picking. You've heard you need 270 electoral votes to win will actually those are individuals in each state were apportioned by the population in each state. And now a federal appeals court in Colorado says that those people least in certain states. Don't always have to vote for who the majority winner is in their state campus break this down spring in. Are Adam Kelsey political reporter also joined by Wilford content covering ten that the G Brennan center for justice he's democracy. Experts somebody who studies of the constitution in these things were offered thanks for common and for a start where. I hear they constitution actually is silent on how electors are supposed to vote. I'm typically they vote with whoever wins at you know particular states some states have rules on the books. Or why was this found unconstitutional. This effort to require electors to vote as the peopled. Right so this case involves Colorado one of their nine electors attempted. Two violate a pledge to vote for Hillary Clinton. The pledge was according to state law. But the constitution does not speak to you. Are removed being electoral on elect tourists. This once he tried to violate the pledge. The secretary of State's office removed and the constitution in article two speaks you how electors are appointed and basically gives seat legislators plenary power to actually appoint who day. So so bottom line for doesn't those of our viewers who are not wonks political wonks me they don't understand the Electoral College. But what you're saying Wilford is that essentially this federal court for the first time. Says that if you're an elector from Colorado for example. You don't have to vote as the people who hundreds you can define. How the electorate in Colorado votes is that right. I'm more or less yes. Basically the court said. They. The constitution in Britain went the Electoral College whose. Envisioned it was envisioned that electors would actually exercise independent judgment so. Laws that exist and there are thirty states in the country that make their electors keep these pledges so of laws that exist. That allow electors who defy those pledges to remove them. Are actually in operatives. Of course this is only affecting. The states that are in the tenth Circuit Court was tenth circuit which is that I asserted that involves our Colorado and and a bunch of mothers but yes the corps is it basically reading in that. -- let brewers do not have to comply with state laws and meet them pledge to vote for the candidate who wins their state. This has two huge put potential political implications Adam. Yet it's a something that I think people are gonna argue flies in the face of the spirit of the electoral college and of the of American elections in general and I think. The broader implications here is that we're gonna start to have. Detailed conversation about how we elect the president United States we've already seen some democratic candidates in the primary op. Are talking about abolishing the Electoral College moving to a system in which the person who receives the moon or the most votes is the winner of the presidential election and I actually DeVon. Spoke to some members of the DNC last year and they were already starting to talk about how this was going to be a major issue. Come the 20/20 general election they are foreseeing the eventual nominee whether it is people who digit Elizabeth weren't even someone like Joseph Biden. Bringing this issue to the forefront and arguing that the Democratic Party. As a whole stands for the popular vote presidential election Carter thanks to Wilford content and with the brands that are for justice for his announce a thank you sir great weekend.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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