Hot Sheet

Wayward electors will put up, or stand down, today at noon

Author: Dan Njegomir - December 19, 2016 - Updated: June 6, 2017

So, our previous prediction—that the Hamilton/faithless electors’ Quixotic quest was about to fizzle—was itself a bit premature. It of course failed to account for today’s Big Event: The electors will cast their votes at noon at the State Capitol. Inevitably, there will be news coverage.

After that, however, all available signs, including just a tad of noticeable ennui starting to set in among the news media, really do point to this issue’s demise as just another flash in the pan in the wake of one of the stranger presidential election years in memory.

Then again, maybe that, too, will turn out to be too bold a prediction. But we can hope, can’t we?

Which isn’t to deny there remains some uncertainty, even a bit of suspense going into today’s vote. First, here’s Lynn Bartels in a news release Sunday from the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office, with a recap on the event itself and the issue that has made headlines:

Colorado’s nine presidential electors are scheduled to meet at the state Capitol at noon Monday for a ceremony that will be presided over by Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne.

…(electors Robert) Nemanich and (Polly) Baca unsuccessfully sued in U.S. District Court in Denver to overturn a Colorado law that requires presidential electors to vote for the winning candidate, providing a national spotlight and drama on what normally is a low-key process. Rather than vote for Clinton, they want to team up with other electors nationally and vote for someone else so that Trump falls short of getting the 270 Electoral College votes he needs on Monday to officially win the presidency.

Secretary Williams opposes the effort, saying the votes of the 2.7 million Coloradans who voted for president in the Nov. 8 election “must be preserved.”

Then there was this development heading into last weekend, as reported by Politico on Saturday:

Colorado’s Republican secretary of state is brushing aside a federal ruling that questioned his authority to remove presidential electors who defy the statewide popular vote, setting up a potential legal clash less than two days before the Electoral College meets to choose the president.

Wayne Williams said he’s been authorized by a state court to remove any electors who refuse to cast their votes for Colorado’s popular-vote winner, Hillary Clinton.

…A three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday ruled that the state law may remain in effect, but the panel suggested strongly that any attempt by Williams to remove and replace electors who violate the law could run afoul of the 12th Amendment, which sets out the Electoral College voting process.

…But Williams told POLITICO he’s likelier to heed the recent ruling of a state court that permits him to eject electors who violate their pledge to Clinton.

Not surprisingly, attorneys for Baca and Nemanich told Politico they disagreed with Williams. He runs the show that begins in just a few hours, but will that be the last we hear of the dissenting duo? Or, will they and their lawyers pull something else out of their hats once the votes are tallied?

Dan Njegomir

Dan Njegomir

Dan Njegomir is a blogger and opinion editor for Colorado Politics. A longtime journalist and more-than-25-year veteran of the Colorado political scene, Njegomir has been an award-winning newspaper reporter, an editorial page editor, a senior legislative staffer at the State Capitol and a political consultant.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *