Denver’s Michael Baca, a Bernie Sander’s supporter and member of the electoral college, has co-founded a group, Moral Electors, that encourages their colleagues in the electoral college to go rogue. Pretty interesting news for political curiosity seekers, and it begs a few questions. How does someone become a presidential elector in Colorado? What do the electors do? And, most interestingly, will Baca break the law and vote for someone other than Hillary Clinton?
States are charged with the responsibility of appointing presidential electors and having the vote. The U.S. Constitution says very little about the qualifications of electors. It excludes U.S. Senators and U.S. Representatives, as well as people “holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States.”
In Colorado, electors are chosen by the parties at their state conventions. For example, the following are the electors elected at the GOP state convention: Jim O’Dell, Robert Blaha, Laurel Imer, Steve Barlock, Charlie McNeil, Bill Cagle, Pete Coors, Steve House, and Eileen Milzcik. It’s a cross-section of the party.
State law stipulates that the presidential electors meet at the Governor’s office in the State Capitol building at noon on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December. The Secretary of State manages the process of notifications and the vote itself. It is an open ballot, and state law stipulates that electors cast their votes in a manner that corresponds with the state’s general election results.
If electors have questions about the system, state law makes available the services of the Colorado Attorney General to clear matters up. We found nothing in the law that outlines the consequences for an elector that refuses to vote for the candidate who received the most votes. There is a provision in the state law that calls for the immediate replacement of vacancy that could be created by a number of factors, including a “refusal to act.” However, this action would occur before the electors “perform the duties required of them by the constitution and the laws of the United States.”
Some states have fines for refusing to vote as the state voted, but we may soon have the opportunity to find out what the penalty is in Colorado. And, of course, all eyes will be on our electors as Clinton’s unheard-of corruption could cause some electors to abandon ship.