Colorado’s presidential electors don’t have to vote for candidate who wins the state, federal appeals court rules
Colorado’s presidential electors do not have to vote for the candidate who wins the state’s popular vote, the powerful 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver ruled Tuesday evening, a decision that could have major ramifications for future elections.
A three-judge panel on the federal appellate court ruled 2-1 against the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office in a case dating back to the 2016 presidential election, when three of the state’s nine presidential electors — the state’s Electoral College voice — tried to vote for candidates other than Democrat Hillary Clinton, who won handily in the state.
Then-Secretary of State Wayne Williams ordered them to cast their votes for Clinton or be replaced. One of the electors, Micheal Baca, refused and tried to back Ohio’s then-Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, as part of a national attempt by electors to block Donald Trump’s presidency.
Baca, termed a “faithless elector,” was removed and replaced with another elector who voted for Clinton. The two other electors who also wanted to vote for Kasich — Polly Baca (unrelated to Micheal) and Robert Nemanich — opted to vote for Clinton instead of being replaced.
But the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Colorado’s law binding presidential electors to vote for the candidate who won the popular vote in the state is not legal and that Williams’ actions thus violated the Constitution.
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