Each state’s electors perform their function for their state and not for the federal government
The term “faithless electors” arose in this election prior to the national vote when one Washington State Elector declared he would not vote for Sec. Clinton regardless of the popular results. In 1836 the entire delegation of Virginia’s Electors went faithless when they declined to vote for the winner of the vice-presidential, Richard Johnson, who had an openly admitted long-term interracial relationship with his slave, Julia Chinn. (How far we have come since then?). Virginia’s action resulted in a lack of majority for Johnson and as set out in the 12th amendment the decision was made by the U.S. Senate (who voted Johnson in). If, during a presidential election, no candidate wins a majority then the matter is sent to the House of Representatives for resolution.
21 states do not have laws compelling the Electors to vote for the pledged candidate. Of the 29 states (plus D.C.) that do have laws the Elector may face a punishment after they have voted. Although the SCOTUS has ruled that State’s mate require their Electors to sign a pledge (Ray v. Blair, 1952) it stopped short of compelling Elector to vote one way or another, or to abstain. SCOTUS has not ruled on the constitutionality of actually punishing Electors for their votes.
As it becomes increasingly clear that Secretary Clinton won the national vote (she’s up by 1.8 million as I write this), the question of the role of the Electoral College becomes more important than ever. The Constitution makes clear that the American people do not actually pick their president, that this task is assigned to 538 people. Yes, it seems crazy! So crazy it just might work that such a system could save the country from ruin, civil war or fascism. We live in dangerous times. To be clear, I am no fan of Hillary Clinton or of the Democratic party but I encourage Electors in all of our beautiful states to vote your conscience. Desperate times call for desperate measures, our national fate is in your hands.