Secretary of State Wayne Williams Rips “Faithless Electors”

Secretary of State Wayne Williams.

Secretary of State Wayne Williams.

The Colorado Independent’s Corey Hutchins reports on a lawsuit filed by two Colorado members of the Electoral College, both Democrats, seeking to switch their votes to a Republican candidate other than Donald Trump in a last-ditch bid to deny Trump the presidency:

Two of Colorado’s nine national electors are taking Colorado to federal court today, challenging a law that requires them to cast their Electoral College votes for Hillary Clinton since she won the state.

The electors, both Democrats, are former state Sen. Polly Baca and Colorado Springs math teacher Bob Nemanich.

In the lawsuit, the first of its kind, according to Electoral College experts, the electors argue the U.S. Constitution allows them to vote their conscience instead of being bound by a decades-old state statute to vote for the candidate who won the state— Clinton, in this case. All 538 national electors will cast their official votes for president in their respective state capitols on Dec. 19.

Colorado’s Republican Secretary of State Wayne Williams fired back with a statement that could be the most strongly-worded of his political career:

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. Indeed, the very Federalist 68 they cite cautions us that “every practical obstacle should be opposed to cabal, intrigue, and corruption.” Yet that is exactly what the electors here have succumbed to: cabal, intrigue and corruption. The court should reject this illegal conspiracy.

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. And in so doing, they seek to violate Colorado law and their own pledges. The very notion of two Colorado electors ignoring Colorado’s popular vote in an effort to sell their vote to electors in other states is odious to everything we hold dear about the right to vote. It is this type of evil that President Franklin Roosevelt warned us about when he cautioned that voters — not elected officials such as these faithless electors — are “the ultimate rulers of our democracy.”

Ouch! Do you think he’s mad?

It’s very unlikely that this attempt will succeed of course–and given the ugly potential consequences of the Electoral College upending the will of the voters in this manner, we’d say that most Americans, even the majority of Americans who voted against Trump, would not want this if they thought it through. A more legitimate method of denying Trump his Electoral College victory is through the recounts proceeding in several “Rust Belt” states, and that effort does not appear to be headed for success either.

With that said, one way this suit could be impactful to future events is to further delegitimize the Electoral College system in general, exposing another defect in a system widely criticized after a second Republican won the presidency while losing the popular vote. In Trump’s case, we’re talking about losing by millions of votes, and causing more Americans to question the process than ever before.

Bottom line: when both sides game the system, one to win and the other to try to stop them, maybe it’s the system that’s the problem.

8 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Conserv. Head Banger says:

    Baca and Nemanich need to do their jobs and cast their votes for Hillary Clinton. Otherwise they dis-enfranchise all who voted for Ms. Clinton. If Baca and Nemanich can't do their jobs, they should step aside for other people. 

    • MichaelBowman says:

      For the sake of argument, CHB, given Ms Clinton stated DJT was unfit to govern (a belief embraced by the vast majority of her supporters) and she isn't the presumptive POTUS-elect of the EC, isn't exercising their conscience in this way in concert with the construct of our Founding Fathers – and the majority opinion of the 2016 electors? 

    • Arvadonian1 says:

      Elected officials, which both Baca and Nemanich are, break campaign promises all of the time.  Are you suggesting that anytime an elected official changes their mind they should step aside?

  2. Conserv. Head Banger says:

    Not defending Trump here, but he said Hillary also was unfit to govern. My point remains the same for Baca and Nemanich in that if they are not able to fulfill their duties, step aside for others. Follow the law first and then they can file their lawsuit to overturn that law, or modify it.

  3. marklane1351 says:

    Which of the two is unfit to govern. Hilary on the one hand a former secretary of state with a long history of political involvement in the state, national, and international arenas. Or Donald Trump a man who bragged about sexually assaulting women who has been sued for raping a teenager. A man whose first wife accused him of rape. A man who has stacked his cabinet with racists and bigots. A man who burst in on young women and teenagers while they were changing for inspections. Donald Trump went into bankruptcy four times, stiffed his creditors and refused to pay people for the job they did. A man who does not understand that we have protocols for who we talk to and who we don't. Sorry if I ran on a bit, but I did not want to use words like serial predator, business failure without elaborating. Now I am hungry so I am going to eat Trump Steak and drink Trump Wine as soon as I find a store that stocks products from failed businesses


  4. gaf says:

    Selective quotes can take funny turns. When my friend Wayne Williams writes

    It is the type of evil that President Franklin Roosevelt warned us about when he cautioned that voters–not elected officials such as these faithless electors–are "the ultimate rulers of our democracy."

    is not the logical extension of that an argument for electing the president by a democratic popular vote? 

    If Wayne wins his argument that electors are bound by the laws of their state it would provide legal support for the National Popular Vote Plan.

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