Court States Electors Who Didn't Vote for Hillary Clinton in 2016 Face Fines
Four of the 12 Democratic presidential electors voted for someone her than Hillary
The state Supreme Court said that the "faithless electors" who defied the pledge they had made along with the will of Washington voters by not voting for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election face fines of $1,000, according to state law.
Four of the 12 Democratic presidential electors voted for someone her than Hillary in 2016, who won the popular vote in Washington.
Three of them voted for former Secretary of State Colin Powell, while one voted for Faith Spotted Eagle, a Keystone XL Pipeline activist.
But all had previously signed pledges to support Clinton if she won the state's vote.
According to The Seattle Times report: State law at the time dictated a $1,000 fine for electors who defied the popular vote, but the four electors challenged the fine, contending that electors are supposed to use independent judgment in casting their ballots and that a state fine infringes on their free speech rights and interferes with a federal electoral process.
A Thurston County Superior Court judge ruled in 2017 that the fines were permissible.
The state Supreme Court, in an 8-1 decision, upheld that ruling.
Writing for the majority, Justice Barbara Madsen wrote that the U.S. Constitution gives states the power to manage how electors to the Electoral College are appointed and that electors act under the authority of the state.
“The power of electors to vote comes from the State, and the elector has no personal right to that vote,” Madsen wrote.
Nothing in the Constitution “grants to the electors absolute discretion in casting their votes and the fine does not interfere with a federal function.”
Writing, alone, in dissent, Justice Steven Gonzalez argued that the nation’s founders intended electors to be free to exercise their judgment.
“The Constitution provides the State only with the power to appoint, leaving the electors with the discretion to vote their conscience,” Gonzalez wrote.
“Therefore, the State cannot impose a civil penalty on electors who do not vote for the candidates nominated by their party.”
Sumeer Singla, a lawyer representing three of the four faithless electors — Bret Chiafalo, Levi Guerra and Esther John — said he still had to talk to his clients, but that they were considering an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
They are watching a similar case from Colorado, pending in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.
“There is essentially a question of whether or not this is a federal function,” Singla said.
“We believe it’s timely, and I think the Supreme Court should clarify what the purpose of the Electoral College is.”
Ultimately, Donald Trump won the election with 304 electoral votes to 227 for Hillary Clinton.
Two Republican electors in Texas and a Democratic elector in Hawaii also rejected the voters of their state and cast their electoral votes for others.