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Supreme Court to hear "faithless elector" case involving Electoral College ahead of 2020 election

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear a pair of cases on whether electors casting Electoral College ballots for president and vice president have to follow the results of the popular vote in their states. The case could have significant ramifications for this year's presidential race.

The cases involve the so-called "faithless electors" during the 2016 presidential election. At issue is whether the faithless electors can vote for any candidate they like, or whether they are bound to follow the popular vote.

In one case, a Colorado elector voted for John Kasich instead of Hillary Clinton, who won the popular vote in that state. The state replaced that ballot caster with another elector. In the other case, in Washington state, several electors refused to cast their ballot for Clinton, who won that state, and instead cast them for Colin Powell. Washington State adopted those ballots, but fined them. 

Thirty-two states have laws requiring electors to follow the popular vote in their state, and the Supreme Court in the past has allowed states to require they do so. 

The Electoral College is the mechanism the U.S. uses, and has always used, to determine who wins the presidency. But in several elections, including 2016, one candidate has won the popular vote but another has won the Electoral College. 

Meanwhile, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts is juggling two jobs. In addition to being chief justice, he is presiding over Mr. Trump's impeachment trial in the Senate

— CBS News correspondent Jan Crawford contributed to this report.

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