‘Faithless electors’ can be replaced, judge rules in blow to movement
If Democratic electors in Colorado refuse to vote for Hillary Clinton, then they can be replaced by others who will follow the law, a judge ruled Tuesday.
Denver District Court Judge Elizabeth Starrs gave Secretary of State Wayne Williams the option of removing the electors after he sought the court’s advice after a well-publicized revolt by three Colorado electors.
The judge also said she would make herself available at noon Monday, when the Electoral College meets in Colorado, 9News in Denver reported.
Her decision came as the second blow in as many days to the “faithless electors,” who lost a motion Monday that would have allowed them to vote for a candidate other than Mrs. Clinton. They have since appealed to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.
The electors — Polly Baca, Michael Baca and Michael Nemanich — have said they may cast their votes for an alternative to Mrs. Clinton in an effort to deny the presidency to Republican Donald Trump as part of the Hamilton Electors movement.
The effort is aimed at persuading Democratic and Republican electors to defy the popular vote in their states and cast their ballots instead for a third candidate, possibly a moderate Republican, when Electoral College members cast official votes in each of the 50 states and in the District of Columbia.
Twenty-nine states and the District require electors to cast their ballots for the winner of the popular vote in their jurisdictions.
After the hearing, Mr. Williams said he may pursue sanctions against the electors. Under Colorado law, faithless electors may face misdemeanor criminal charges with a fine of $1,000 and up to one year in jail.
“If you take an oath of office and then immediately violate it, that should have consequences,” Mr. Williams told Denverite.
Mr. Williams, a Republican, has been highly critical of Ms. Baca and Mr. Nemanich, who sought a temporary injunction against the law but were denied in Monday’s decision. Mr. Baca is involved in the Hamilton Electors movement but did not join the lawsuit.
“Make no mistake, this is not some noble effort to fight some unjust or unconstitutional law; rather, this is an arrogant attempt by two faithless electors to elevate their personal desires over the entire will of the people of Colorado,” Mr. Williams said last week in a statement. “And in doing so, they seek to violate Colorado law and their own pledges.”
Electors led by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s daughter Christine Pelosi of California have called for an intelligence briefing before the Electoral College vote on claims of Russian interference in the presidential race.
The Monday letter to Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper originally had 10 signatures, but another 20 electors have since signed the letter. At least one, Chris Suprun of Texas, is a Republican pledged to vote for Mr. Trump for carrying his state.
Michael Baca (center) and two other Electoral College members in Colorado have said they may cast their votes for an alternative to Hillary Clinton in an effort to deny the presidency to Republican Donald Trump as part of the Hamilton Electors movement.