I just got an email from Steve Sandvoss and just finished chatting with him on Illinois electoral law. It turns out that there is some provision for electors being unable to do their duty. It’s all laid out at 10 ILCS 5/21-5. Here’s the text:
In case any person duly elected an elector of President and Vice?President of the United States shall fail to attend at the Capitol on the day on which his vote is required to be given, it shall be the duty of the elector or electors of President and Vice-President, attending at the time and place, to appoint a person or persons to fill such vacancy; provided, that should the person or persons chosen, as in this Article provided, in the foregoing sections, arrive at the place aforesaid before the votes for President and Vice-President are actually given, the person or persons appointed to fill such vacancy shall not act as elector of President and Vice-President.
(Source: Laws 1943, vol. 2, p. 1.)
A quick read will show that this is perfectly adequate for a heart attack, no shows, or mistaken appointments (where the elector isn’t actually qualified to serve). This is important because ~0.5% of electors had to be replaced in 2000 and no doubt a similar percentage are replaced every election.
What this doesn’t help at all for is cases where the whole college is taken out prior to voting and transmitting their votes. There’s a war on and the state legislature has the duty to tighten up the laws so an attack would not imperil Illinois’ votes for the presidency due to enemy attack.
Again, this isn’t rocket science here. A fair procedure to throw it back to the legislature in case of incapacity of the entire college should neither take much of the legislature’s time, nor would either party be likely to object to a quick electoral procedure reform to fix the hole.
Will the legislature act? Who knows?