Wednesday, December 21, 2016
  Softwarically interesting

Looks like the "State" of Wash will be imposing a fine on the D electors who picked Colin Powell or the Gaian injun. The law is clear on this point. Electors are not just voters who can follow their "conscience"; they are agents of their party, bound to support the party nominee in the same way that a bookkeeper is bound to deposit the company receipts in the company account, not in his own account.

The law itself contains an interesting surprise. There's a movement to end-run the corrupt EC with a system that follows the actual vote more closely. I discussed it in 2009, before Wash had fully passed the law. I didn't realize it had been fully passed.

Here's the relevant section. Note the HOWEVER.
Each presidential elector shall execute and file with the secretary of state a pledge that, as an elector, he or she will vote for the candidates nominated by that party. The names of presidential electors shall not appear on the ballots. The votes cast for candidates for president and vice president of each political party shall be counted for the candidates for presidential electors of that political party; however, if the interstate compact entitled the "agreement among the states to elect the president by national popular vote," as set forth in RCW 29A.56.300, governs the appointment of the presidential electors for a presidential election as provided in clause 9 of Article III of that compact, then the final appointment of presidential electors for that presidential election shall be in accordance with that compact.
The internal link in the law leads to the verbatim text of the National Popular Vote agreement. Here's the key point:
This agreement shall take effect when states cumulatively possessing a majority of the electoral votes have enacted this agreement in substantially the same form and the enactments by such states have taken effect in each state.
Obviously the Compact hasn't yet been ratified by a majority of the electoral votes, or we would have seen it working this year. Maybe the widespread annoyance of this year's result will lead to more ratifications.

It's softwarically interesting to see a provision of written law that is dormant at the moment, waiting for other states to write the same law. Like a function that won't get called until other computers on the network have the same function installed. Normally a written law is always active, ready to return a penalty when its own input is directly triggered.
 


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Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.

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