Electors’ injunction request rejected
A federal judge on Monday rejected two Colorado electors’ request for an injunction allowing them to unbind their votes in an effort to block Donald Trump’s path to the White House, calling it “a political stunt.”
“It would undermine the electoral process,” Judge Wiley Daniel said during a hearing in U.S. District Court in Denver. “Part of me thinks this is really a political stunt to prevent Mr. Trump from being president.”
Democrat electors Polly Baca, a former state lawmaker, and Robert Nemanich sued Colorado last week, arguing it was unconstitutional for the state to require them to cast their votes for the candidate chosen by voters.
The electors hope to persuade Republican electors in other states to vote for a third-party candidate to keep Trump from receiving 270 electoral votes — and offering to shift their Democratic votes to a consensus pick.
Although Daniel rejected the plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction, the lawsuit itself is still pending in federal court.
Jason Wesoky, the electors’ attorney, said the unprecedented effort to allow electors to vote for the candidate of their choice is important, regardless of Monday’s ruling.
“Just because the emergency brake has not been pulled doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be pulled,” Wesoky said after the hearing Monday.
Another Colorado elector, Micheal Baca, who is not part of the lawsuit, is working with electors in other states to help push what they call the “Moral Electors” movement. Baca, who attended the hearing, said the ruling would not stop his effort to persuade electors to choose a consensus candidate.
Colorado law prohibits electors from shifting their allegiances, and Republican Secretary of State Wayne Williams has pledged to replace them if they do so — two moves the electors argue violate the U.S. Constitution.
“Plaintiffs are entitled to exercise their judgment and free will to vote for whomever they believe to be the most qualified and fit for the offices of president and vice president, whether those candidates are Democrats, Republicans or from a third party,” the electors said in their lawsuit.
Williams had vowed to defend Colorado’s law and suggested that the electors “succumbed to cabal, intrigue and corruption.”
“Instead of honoring the will of the Coloradans who voted for them, these two faithless electors seek to conspire with electors from other states to elect a president who did not receive a single vote in November,” Williams said in a statement.
The secretary of state’s office argues that when an elector takes the oath Dec. 19 — when the Electoral College meets — they become public officers. And if they fail to meet their public duty under the law, they could be subject to a misdemeanor criminal charge.
Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, and Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, a Republican, also were named as defendants in the lawsuit.
Trump’s lawyers on Monday filed documents to become involved in the lawsuit, The Associated Press reported.
Papers filed by Christopher Murray, a veteran Colorado Republican attorney representing Trump, contend the lawsuit “threatens to undermine the many laws in other states that sensibly bind their electors’ votes to represent the will of the citizens, undermining the Electoral College in the process.”