electoral college

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Colorado: A federal judge dismissed the ‘Hamilton Elector’ lawsuit in Colorado. But that’s what they wanted. | The Colorado Independent

A federal judge in Colorado on Tuesday dismissed a case its plaintiffs hope will eventually bring more clarity to how members of the Electoral College should vote in presidential elections. And a dismissal is actually just what the plaintiffs wanted. They expect an appeal could bring their case before the nation’s highest court. At issue is a lawsuit by three members of the 2016 class of Colorado’s Electoral College who argued that Colorado GOP Secretary of State Wayne Williams violated their constitutional rights by forcing them to officially cast their national electoral ballots for the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, in the 2016 presidential election. U.S. District Court Senior Judge Wiley Daniel dismissed the case— and in doing so, helped get the legal question potentially further up the legal chain on an appeal and perhaps, eventually, before the United States Supreme Court, which is what the plaintiffs ultimately want.  Read More

Colorado: Federal judge tosses “faithless” presidential elector lawsuit against Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams | The Denver Post

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit from three Democratic presidential electors against Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams alleging that Williams violated their constitutional rights during the highly contentious 2016 Electoral College vote. The trio contended that Williams acted unlawfully by not allowing them to vote their conscience instead of on behalf of Colorado voters when casting their presidential votes. But U.S. District Court Senior Judge Wiley Y. Daniel rejected that premise, saying they were requesting he “strike down Colorado’s elector statute that codifies the historical understanding and long-standing practice of binding electors to the people’s vote, and to sanction a new system that would render the people’s vote merely advisory.” Read More

National: Winner-Take-All Electoral Practice Faces Voter-Rights Challenge | Bloomberg

Civil rights activists are challenging the legality of four states’ winner-take-all method of allocating U.S. presidential electoral college votes, claiming the practice magnifies some votes at the expense of others and violates voters’ constitutional rights. The lawsuits were filed Wednesday in Texas and South Carolina, two states seen as “solidly red,” or Republican, and Massachusetts and California, two states seen as “solidly blue,” or Democratic, according to a statement from the activists’ lawyers. Veteran U.S. Supreme Court litigator David Boies, of Boies Schiller Flexner LLP, and the League of United Latin American Citizens, or LULAC, are spearheading the “non-partisan” challenges. Read More

Texas: In lawsuit, activists say Texas’ winner-take-all approach to the Electoral College is discriminatory | The Texas Tribune

Saying Texas’ current practice is discriminatory, a group of Hispanic activists and lawyers has sued the state in hopes of blocking it from awarding all of its Electoral College votes to one candidate during presidential elections. The lawsuit filed in federal court Wednesday calls on Texas to treat voters “in an equal manner” by abolishing that “winner-take-all” approach, which all but two states use. The suit, filed by the League of United Latin American Citizens and a coalition of Texas lawyers, says that approach violates the U.S. Constitution and the 1965 Voting Rights Act. It’s just one of many pending voting rights lawsuits arguing that Texas, which regularly votes Republican, has illegally discriminated against voters of color.  Read More

Editorials: Let the People Pick the President | The New York Times

The winners of Tuesday’s elections — Republican or Democrat, for governor, mayor or dogcatcher — all have one thing in common: They received more votes than their opponent. That seems like a pretty fair way to run an electoral race, which is why every election in America uses it — except the most important one of all. Was it just a year ago that more than 136 million Americans cast their ballots for president, choosing Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump by nearly three million votes, only to be thwarted by a 200-year-old constitutional anachronism designed in part to appease slaveholders and ratified when no one but white male landowners could vote? It feels more like, oh, 17 years — the last time, incidentally, that the American people chose one candidate for president and the Electoral College imposed the other. Read More

Colorado: Secretary of State makes a deal with electoral college members suing him | The Colorado Independent

Colorado’s GOP Secretary of State Wayne Williams and attorneys for three members of the 2016 Electoral College class who are suing him for voter intimidation have reached a deal. They haven’t settled but instead agreed to make concessions on both sides that could grease the wheels to have their case heard by the U.S. Supreme Court more quickly. Under their agreement, the electors will not sue Williams personally and won’t ask for damages and attorney fees beyond a dollar. In exchange, the Secretary of State’s Office will waive any immunity, meaning the case won’t get bogged down in protracted litigation — and could move through the courts more quickly. Read More

Editorials: Tyranny of the Minority | Michelle Goldberg/The New York Times

Since Donald Trump’s cataclysmic election, the unthinkable has become ordinary. We’ve grown used to naked profiteering off the presidency, an administration that calls for the firing of private citizens for political dissent and nuclear diplomacy conducted via Twitter taunts. Here, in my debut as a New York Times columnist, I want to discuss a structural problem that both underlies and transcends our current political nightmare: We have entered a period of minority rule. I don’t just mean the fact that Trump became president despite his decisive loss in the popular vote, though that shouldn’t be forgotten. Worse, the majority of voters who disapprove of Trump have little power to force Congress to curb him. Read More

Editorials: The Electoral College Is a National Security Threat | Matthew Olsen & Benjamin Haas/Politico

In Federalist No. 68, his pseudonymous essay on “The Mode of Electing the President,” Alexander Hamilton wrote that the Electoral College could shield the United States “from the desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils.” Because of the “transient existence” and dispersed makeup of the electors, he argued, hostile countries would find it too expensive and time-consuming to inject “sinister bias” into the process of choosing a president. At the time, the new American leaders feared meddling from Great Britain, their former colonial master, or perhaps from other powers such as France, and they designed a system to minimize the prospect that Europe’s aging monarchies could seize control of their young democracy. Hamilton and his colleagues never could have envisioned a year like 2016, when an enemy state—Russia—was able to manipulate America’s election process with stunning effectiveness. But it’s clear the national security rationale for the Electoral College is outdated and therefore it should be retired. Simply put, it enables foreign powers to more easily pierce the very shield Hamilton imagined it would be. Read More

National: Is the Electoral College Doomed? | Politico

The Electoral College is under fresh assault on the heels of Donald Trump’s victory last November—the second time in five presidential races the popularly elected candidate lost the election—but it’s not due to any groundswell in Congress for a constitutional amendment to adopt a national popular vote. Instead, the most viable campaign to change how Americans choose their leader is being waged at booze-soaked junkets in luxury hotels around the country and even abroad, as an obscure entity called the Institute for Research on Presidential Elections peddles a controversial idea: that state legislatures can put the popular-vote winner in the White House. Read More

Colorado: Attorney General won’t prosecute the Hamilton Elector who voted for Kasich not Clinton | The Colorado Independent

Colorado Republican Attorney General Cynthia Coffman will not prosecute Micheal Baca, a former member of the Electoral College who was stripped of his position when he cast a vote for Ohio Gov. John Kasich instead of Hillary Clinton during a chaotic day in December. Coffman, who has said she is exploring whether there is a path for her to run for governor, says she doesn’t want Baca to use Colorado’s court system as a platform to make more headlines. Colorado GOP Secretary of State Wayne Williams, who asked Coffman to investigate Baca, said he is “disappointed” the AG won’t pursue the case. On Dec. 19, Baca became the first elector in Colorado history not to cast a ballot during a ceremony at the Capitol for the presidential candidate who won the state’s popular vote. Baca was part of a movement known as the Hamilton Electors who believe they have the authority under the U.S. Constitution to vote their conscience as national electors. They hatched a plan to try and thwart Donald Trump from the White House by trying to convince enough electors around the country to vote for a more palatable Republican. Read More