Electoral College-Colorado

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, left, and Attorney General Phil Weiser, right, announce they have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to consider an appeals court ruling that presidential electors can vote for the candidate of their choice, at a news conference in Denver on Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. Griswold and Weiser insist that presidential electors are bound to cast their votes at the Electoral College according to the popular vote in their respective states.

Colorado officials said Wednesday they want the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn an appeals court ruling that presidential electors can vote for the candidate of their choice and aren't bound by the popular vote in their states.

Secretary of State Jena Griswold and Attorney General Phil Weiser announced the appeal on Wednesday.

The August decision by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver puts "our country at risk," Secretary of State Jena Griswold said at a news conference attended by Attorney General Phil Weiser.

Griswold has decried the ruling as a violation of the one person, one vote principle.

“The 10th Circuit’s decision undermines voters and sets a dangerous precedent for our nation," Griswold said in a statement. "Unelected and unaccountable presidential electors should not be allowed to decide the presidential election without regard to voters’ choices and state law. When Americans vote in the presidential election, we are exercising our most fundamental right – the right to self-governance and self-determination. The foundation of our democracy is at risk."

Weiser said the decision threatens to put presidential elections "in the hands of a few unaccountable presidential electors."

Four of the nine high court justices must agree to accept a case for it to be heard.

Presidential electors almost always vote for the popular vote winner, and some states have laws requiring them to do so.

Under the Electoral College system, voters who cast a ballot for president are choosing electors who are pledged to that presidential candidate. The electors then choose the president at the Electoral College.

Colorado's political parties nominate the state's nine electors.

In a split decision, the three-judge federal appeals panel said the Constitution allows electors to cast votes at their own discretion.

The panel ruled in the case of Colorado elector Micheal Baca, who refused to vote for Democrat Hillary Clinton, the presidential winner in Colorado in 2016.

Baca crossed out Clinton's name on his ballot and wrote in John Kasich, the Republican governor of Ohio, who also ran for president.

Following state law, then-Secretary of State Wayne Williams removed Baca as an elector and replaced him with another who voted for Clinton.

The 10th U.S. Circuit blocked a bid by two other Colorado electors to cast their ballots that year for someone other than Clinton. Those bids were blocked before the three-judge panel issued its decision in the Baca case.

Baca said in a written statement that he looked forward to having the Supreme Court "resolve the issue of elector freedom before the 2020 election."

Jason Harrow, chief counsel with the nonprofit group Equal Citizens who represents Baca, said he welcomed the chance for a full hearing before the high court.

Equal Citizens also has asked the Supreme Court to take up a Washington case in which three electors were fined for refusing to vote for Clinton, the popular vote winner there. They cast their ballots for Republican Colin Powell.

The Denver appeals court ruling in the Baca case applies to Colorado and five other states in the 10th Circuit: Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming.

(1) comment

Wales Pat

Citizens don't select electors to choose for us; we select them to carry out the choice the citizenry has made.


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