Court strikes down faithless-elector law

Todd Shepherd of the Washington Free Beacon reports on a court ruling that could influence future presidential elections.

A panel of federal judges with the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of appeals handed down a 2-1 ruling saying the state of Colorado was wrong in 2016 to force a presidential elector to cast his vote for Hillary Clinton in the Electoral College.

State law in Colorado mandates that presidential electors cast their Electoral College vote for the candidate receiving the most votes statewide, which in that instance was Hillary Clinton.

In 2016, however, elector Micheal Baca tried to cast his vote for Ohio’s then-governor, Republican John Kasich, as part of a short-lived movement to circumvent Trump’s election in a kind of compromise. Supporters of the idea hoped enough electors would defect to Kasich to deny Trump the presidency — arguing Trump was too unstable or dangerous — but would still have given Republicans control of the executive branch rather than handing that power to Democrats.

When Baca cast his vote for Kasich, then-secreatary of state Wayne Williams (R.) removed and replaced Baca with an elector who voted for Clinton.

“Secretary Williams impermissibly interfered with Mr. Baca’s exercise of his right to vote as a presidential elector,” part of the court ruling read. “Specifically, Secretary Williams acted unconstitutionally by removing Mr. Baca and nullifying his vote for failing to comply with the vote binding provision.”

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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