Washington state’s rogue electors make history – fined $1,000 for not voting Clinton
They will all be fined next week, and have 60 days to pay, according to the spokesman for Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman, who spoke to the AP. He added that an appeals process is being formulated in case of a challenge.
This is the first time anything like this has happened in the state in 40 years, when one elector went rogue and voted for Ronald Reagan instead of Gerald Ford, who won in Washington but lost the general election to Democratic candidate Jimmy Carter in 1976. It was that year that the penalties for going rogue were signed into law, but 2016 is the first year they will be enforced.
This time, one third of the electors went rogue in an act of symbolic protest, giving Clinton eight votes, instead of the 12 she had secured, thus making Washington the leading state in so-called ‘faithless electors.’ The vast majority of the Electoral College voted as expected, sealing Donald Trump’s victory, with 304 but two votes to Clinton’s 227. It takes 270 votes to win the presidency.
The only state to defy Trump was Texas, with two GOP electors casting protest votes. The only other faithless elector was in Hawaii – picking US Senator Bernie Sanders instead of Clinton.
In the weeks following Trump’s victory, many Americans started to take a closer look at the Electoral College, with the very formal and quiet ceremony garnering unusual attention this year. Anti-Trump protesters gathered outside of the Capitol in Olympia, Washington where electors cast their final votes with the traditional feather pens.
These results undermine the efforts of the Hamilton Electors – a group of electors inside the College who tried to go rogue and get multiple states to unite behind a different Republican candidate. It was the group’s three electors who voted for Colin Powell, as well as voting against Clinton’s running mate, Tim Kaine.
They were not dissuaded by the threat of a fine on Monday. The group’s founder, Bret Chiafalo, expressed his disagreement with Washington’s decision: “I think we did what we thought was right,” arguing that the rule forbidding electors from voting individually was “unconstitutional.”
Chiafalo added that he will appeal the state’s decision to impose the fine.
“Guerra and Chiafalo filed a request last week to have the fine waived, citing Alexander Hamilton’s writings on the Electoral College. The electors argued that the Electoral College is the last line of defense to prevent an unfit president from taking office, and electors should be free to vote their conscience.”