President-elect Donald Trump is weeks away from taking the oath of office, but for two Colorado presidential electors, the 2016 contest remains contested. The electors, who are Democrats vehemently opposed to Mr. Trump in the White House, have filed a lawsuit challenging the winner-takes-all system for casting electoral votes.
Reports the Denver Post: Two Democratic electors who pledged to support Democrat Hillary Clinton — the winner of the state’s nine Electoral College votes — now want to “vote their conscience and do their constitutional duty as intended by the framers,” said Jason Wesoky, the attorney who filed the suit. Polly Baca, a former state lawmaker, and Robert Nemanich are among the “Moral Electors” hoping to persuade Republican electors in other states to vote for a third-party candidate to keep Trump from receiving 270 electoral votes — and offering to shift their Democratic votes to a consensus pick.
Winner-takes-all, the suit alleges, violates constitutional rights guaranteeing equal protection under the law and freedom of speech and also breaches electoral college procedures in the 12th Amendment. The complaint states:
[D]espite the plain language of Article II of the U.S. Constitution, as amended by the Twelfth Amendment, and the Founders’ intent that the Presidential Electors be a deliberative and independent body free to cast votes for whomever they deem to be the most fit and qualified candidates, Messrs. Trump and Pence – if the state statutes are enforced – may “win” the election while also losing, by historical margins, the nationwide popular vote.
The lawsuit, landing a month after Election Day, challenges a method for a picking U.S. presidents that has been a fixture of American politics for nearly 200 years. Colorado is among the 48 states requiring electors to fall in line with a state’s popular vote.