There’s a hearing Monday in the Colorado “faithless electors” case

A stuffed ballot box is damp and disheveled from a raging evening hail storm. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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Two Colorado Democratic electors who want the freedom to vote for someone other than Hillary Clinton for president — in a last-ditch bid to stop Donald Trump from becoming president — will go before a federal judge on Monday.

As many of us know by now, if we’d forgotten our U.S. political history, the electoral college was once an independent body that merely took the people’s votes into consideration as they made their own decision about what was best for this country.

Over time, we stopped distrusting the masses so much, and the electoral college became a rubber stamp on the popular vote of each state. Many states — including Colorado — even have laws that “bind” their electors to the state’s popular vote.

A stuffed ballot box is damp and disheveled from a raging evening hail storm. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) election; ballot; vote; denver; colorado; denverite; kevinjbeaty;
These are just a suggestion. Do whatever you think is best. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Electors Polly Baca and Robert Nemanich filed a lawsuit this week against Gov. John Hickenlooper, Attorney General Cynthia Coffman and Secretary of State Wayne Williams to argue that binding them to the popular vote of the state violates the intent of the electoral college and impinges on their freedom of speech.

In a pretty sharply worded statement, Williams called this “odious” and basically anti-democratic.

The effort is led by Democratic electors who hope to convince enough Republican electors to vote for a Republican other than Trump — by being willing to give their own votes to a Republican who is not Trump rather than to Clinton. (So far, just one Republican has stated his intention to do this.) If Trump doesn’t have 270 electoral votes, the presidential election goes to the U.S. House of Representatives.

There isn’t a lot of time to unbind all these electors — they are set to vote Dec. 19 at high noon — but you have to start somewhere, and it’s starting in U.S. District Court in Colorado.

Federal District Court Judge Wiley Daniel, a Bill Clinton appointee who has been on the federal bench since 1995, will hear arguments at 3 p.m. Monday.

Erica Meltzer

Author: Erica Meltzer

Erica Meltzer covers government and politics. She's worked for newspapers in Colorado, Arizona and Illinois and once won a First Amendment Award by showing up in the wrong place at the wrong time. She served in the Peace Corps in Paraguay and can swear fluently in Guarani. She gets emotional about public libraries. Contact Erica Meltzer at 303-502-2802, emeltzer@denverite.com or @meltzere.