Thursday, two electors wrote an op-ed piece on the political website The Hill saying that they could opt to vote for a candidate during the Dec. 19th meeting of the Electoral College other than the ones that they are pledged to.
Polly Baca from Colorado and Levi Guerra from Washington State are electors, both Democrats and have pledged to vote for Hillary Clinton after the former Secretary of State won these 2 states on November 8th in the general election. They have both stated they will not vote for Trump (nor Clinton it seems).
“As Presidential electors, we have the Constitutional right to vote our conscience and the responsibility to unify behind the best person for the job when the Electoral College officially meets on December 19.
Though we come from different generations, as a retired elected official and the youngest 2016 Elector, we agree with millions of Americans that Donald Trump is unfit to be president.
In Federalist 68, Alexander Hamilton tells us why the Founding Fathers created the Electoral College: to prevent an unqualified demagogue who is under foreign influence from taking over the nation’s highest office.
Trump fails the Founding Fathers’ three part test for the presidency — he is unqualified, he is a dangerous demagogue, and he cannot prove his independence from foreign nations.
This means Trump as commander-in-chief is a clear and present danger to national security, and he will likely do permanent damage to the Bill of Rights, if inaugurated. Men like him are why the Electoral College exists as a Constitutional check and balance against popular, but unqualified, leadership for our country.
Therefore, in order to uphold our sworn duty to preserve the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic, we have been organizing electors across the country to reject Trump at the Electoral College and replace him with a responsible and qualified alternative.
This has been the most divisive election in modern history. However, we still have an opportunity to end 2016 with a statement to the world that America is united and strong behind a new leader that We the People can all call our President
The best person for the job of President is clearly not Donald Trump. Experienced and qualified public servants like Gov. Jon Huntsman, Gov. Mitt Romney, Sen. John McCain, Sec. Condoleezza Rice, Gov. John Kasich, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, or Sec. Colin Powell would all be equipped to handle the responsibilities of the Oval Office, whereas Trump is simply not ready to lead on Day 1.
Electors of good conscience should exercise their Constitutional right to elect the best person for the job of President or simply abstain from voting for either of the major party candidates.
If no candidate gets to 270 Electoral College votes, then the decision will go to the House of Representatives, as it has happened twice in our nation’s history.
Many of our fellow Republicans agree, and as one elector from Texas, Art Sisneros, recently said, “If Trump is not qualified and my role, both morally and historically, as an elected official is to vote my conscience, then I cannot and will not vote for Donald Trump for President. I believe voting for Trump would bring dishonor to God.”
At this critical turning point in American history, the best leader for our country is someone who has been called upon by the people to lead, rather than someone who follows their ambition to gain power and rule over us all.
Our first President George Washington was a reluctant leader and did not seek power. He was called out of retirement because he was the best person to unite the country at that time and to preserve the republic to future generations of Americans.
Who is that person today? Who will be that unifying candidate? When you come forward, know that you will have our support and the support of hundreds of electors at statehouses across the country on December 19th.
It is time to put to put party aside and to put America first. So we are encouraging Electors from both red and blue states to answer our Founders’ call, deliberate, and unite behind this alternative “Hamilton Candidate,” whether a Republican, Democrat, or Independent.
We take our oath to preserve and defend the Constitution seriously, which is why we’re willing to use the tools that it gives us to defend our country and it’s future.”
The group refers to Alexander Hamilton as its inspiration and in particular, his writings in Federalist 68, where the Founding Father said that “the Electoral College affords a moral certainty, that the office of the President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.”
Electoral College members who don’t vote for their pledged candidate are popularly known as “faithless electors” or on occasion, they are called “unfaithful electors.” Neither term is complimentary; in fact, 29 states and the District of Columbia have laws on the books that punish Electoral College members who don’t vote for their pledged candidates.
There is no requirement under the Constitution for Electoral College members to remain “faithful.”
Colorado and Washington have laws that attempt to bind electors to the candidate they pledged to support. The punishment for Faithless Electors in Washington is as follows:
“Any elector who votes for a person or persons not nominated by the party of which he or she is an elector is subject to a civil penalty of up to one thousand dollars.”
And in Colorado, the situation is different; an Electoral College member who votes for another candidate, under the state law, is disqualified and replaced with a new member who will vote for the pledged candidate.
Unless there is an unprecedented run of 38 electors who switch their votes from Trump to Clinton on December 19 (with states allowing those votes), the faithless electors can make a symbolic statement at best. But there could be unintentional consequences if the longest of longshots happens.