Federal Appeals Court Reaffirms The Constitutional Rights Of Electors

The Constitution has never required electors to vote for any particular candidates. They were always free to vote their conscience. The question in Colorado revolved around whether the state can control the electors. The Federal Appeals Court ruled that they could not…that interfering with the choices of the electors was clearly unconstitutional. It was ever such but seldom came up in practice.

But that might all be changed now and there is going to be room for renewed shenanigans around the Electoral College vote in the future. Beyond the recent history of the winner of the popular vote losing the presidency in the Electoral College…we now have another reason to consider changing how we elect our president.

A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday evening that Colorado’s presidential electors do not have to back the candidate who wins the state’s popular vote.

The decision could have significant consequences for future presidential contests and is likely headed to the Supreme Court. 

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver ruled in a 2-1 decision against the Colorado secretary of state in a case stemming from the 2016 presidential race.

At the time, three of the Centennial State’s nine electors tried to vote for candidates other than Democrat Hillary Clinton, who had won the state’s popular vote.

The appeals court ruled that the Constitution provides “presidential electors the right to cast a vote for president and vice president with discretion. And the state does not possess countervailing authority to remove an elector and to cancel his vote in response to the exercise of that Constitutional right.”

btw: I may be a little dense here…but how would an electoral vote for Kasich instead of Clinton prevent a Trump victory?

The case before the appeals court revolved around a dispute over the decision of then-Secretary of State Wayne Williams to order the three electors to back Clinton. 

Michael Baca, one of the electors, declined, instead opting to back then-Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) as part of an attempt to deny Donald Trump a victory.


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