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I initially understood "defecting from the slate" as "defecting from the plan". And then I checked out "slate" and found its definition is: a list of candidates, officers, etc., to be considered for nomination, appointment, election, or the like.

It seems neither the defintion nor my "plan" is very suitable here.

What does "slate" mean then?

After Hawaii cast its four votes for Mr. Biden, he finished with 306 Electoral College votes, with no electors defecting from the slate.

The vote follows six weeks of unprecedented efforts by Mr. Trump to intervene in the electoral process and change the outcome of an election he lost by about seven million votes. He was joined by many Republicans who supported his unfounded claims of voter fraud, including 126 party members and 18 state attorneys general who supported a case before the Supreme Court that legal experts said had no merit. The court rejected the case on Friday.

Source: NYTimes

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In this case "the slate" means the group of Biden and Harris, and "defecting from the slate" would mean that one or more electors chosen to vote for Biden and Harris instead voted for some other choice. The usual term for an elector who does this is "faithless elector".

Note that "slate" in an electoral context is more often used when there is a group of candidates for the same office who are running together, and who many votes are expected to vote for (or against) jointly. Where there are several members of a city council elected at the same time, say one might speak of "the green slate" and "the purple slate" to indicate groups symbolized or designated by that color, each containing several candidates.

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  • take care on the typos. There are quite a lot of "mo9re" in this and your other answers. I guess this means you are typing on a phone keypad, but do take the time to go back and edit them out. – James K Dec 15 '20 at 21:58
  • Sorry I don't understand the first passage of yours - "In this case "the slate" means the group of Biden and Harris, and "defecting from the slate" would mean that one or more electors chosen to vote for Biden and Harris instead voted for some other choice. The usual term for an elector who does this is "faithless elector"." If the slate referred to the group of Biden and Harris, isn't voting for the group "following the slate" rather than "defecting from the slate"? – NewPlanet Dec 16 '20 at 5:48
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    @NewPlanet Yes, an elector who voted for Biden&Harris might be said to fo "follow the slate." The original qiote said that no Democratic electors defected from the slate, and thus that all followed it. – David Siegel Dec 16 '20 at 14:46
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In American presidential elections, the people do not elect the president! Instead the people in each state choose a small list of people and those people then vote for the president.

Each candidate for president will nominate a list of people that will vote for him or her. These lists are called "slates" (probably because the names were written with chalk on black slate, so they could be easily changed)

If an elector "defects from the slate" that means that the don't vote for the candidate that they said that they would support when they were chosen by the people.

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  • I don't understand the phrase "Each candidate for president will nominate a list of people that will vote for him or her. These lists are called "slates" " Because the relation of the people nominated and the elector is not clear. Suppose the candidate for president to be Biden, he nominate the people to vote for him? What does this mean? What do the people relate to the elector? An elector of a state, according to Wikipedia, must follow the rule to only elect the winner candidate who wins the popular vote in that state, violating the rule would be a crime. – NewPlanet Dec 16 '20 at 5:41
  • Come to Biden, the elector must vote him because he wins the popular vote in that state. – NewPlanet Dec 16 '20 at 5:43
  • The rules vary between states. In 2016 the slate of electors chosen by Clinton voted. One of the electors defected to Elizabeth Warren. It is a matter for the state to decide if this is illegal or not, and how it is to be punished if it is illegal. In the USA the people don't choose a president. They choose electors. The electors choose the president. Most states have laws that say the electors must vote faithfully, but not all. simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Electoral_College – James K Dec 16 '20 at 6:47
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    The people in Hawaii voted for Clinton. So Clinton's slate of electors voted for the president. All of the people on Clinton's slate had promised to vote for Clinton in the Electoral college vote. But one of them broke that promise. Trump lost the election in Hawaii so Trumps slate of electors couldn't vote in the electoral college. Clinton could choose the electors in Hawaii because she won the popular vote in Hawaii – James K Dec 16 '20 at 15:10
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    Step one. Trump and Clinton choose a slate... Step two. People vote for either Trump or Clinton... Step three If the winner of the popular vote can use her slate... Step four the winning slate votes in the electoral college vote... Step five the winner of the electoral college becomes President. – James K Dec 16 '20 at 15:10

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