KUNC’s Scott Franz reports:
Colorado is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to take up a case that could have big implications for future presidential elections.
Secretary of State Jena Griswold and Attorney General Phil Weiser are hoping the nation’s highest court will decide that presidential electors must follow state laws that require them to vote for the candidate who wins the most votes in the state.
The legal challenge comes after the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in August that former Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams was wrong to remove a presidential elector who refused to cast a vote for Hillary Clinton, who won the state’s popular vote in 2016.
An appeals court ruling in August which essentially held that members of the Electoral College have the inalienable right to vote for whoever they wish to be President of the United States, regardless of who a majority of the voters in their state supported. Although this ruling is plainly contrary to the spirit of democratic fairness and the individual franchise Americans take for granted, the fact is that it’s arguably fully consistent with the intention of the Founders–who very frankly saw the Electoral College system as a check against unbridled democratic majoritarianism. It’s only in recent years that the College has emerged as an undeniable advantage to Republicans, proving decisive against the majority vote in 2000 and again in 2016.
Secretary of State Jena Griswold and Attorney General Phil Weiser are no fans of the Electoral College, and both supported passage of this year’s National Popular Vote Compact legislation which is now being challenged via a citizen-referred repeal measure on the 2020 ballot. The NPV Compact in turn relies on the ability of states to enforceably bind electors to the results of the nationwide vote in order to work, and until the Electoral College ceases to exist it can only be defensibly do its job if individual voters have confidence that the Electoral College is carrying out their wishes.
Now, the Supreme Court will be obliged to either prop up the Electoral College by pulling the reins on the rights of Electors, or throwing the entire Electoral College system into chaos by destroying even an imaginary linkage between this arcane institution and the rights American voters think they have. Griswold and Weiser are doing what they have to to keep the system working–and we know they agree the solution in the end is for one person to receive one nationally equal vote in presidential elections.