Elec­tors’ in­junc­tion re­quest re­jected

The Denver Post - - FRONT PAGE - By John Frank

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.”

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