Colorado’s faithless elector gets away with it, leaving Wayne Williams shaking his fist

Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman said she would not file charges in the case.

Electors Polly Baca, Anne Hallman, Robert Nemanich and Micheal Baca take their oaths in Governor Hickenlooper's office at the Colorado Capitol. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)
Electors Polly Baca, Anne Hallman, Robert Nemanich and Micheal Baca take their oaths in Governor Hickenlooper's office at the Colorado Capitol. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)
Electors Polly Baca (left to right), Anne Hallman, Robert Nemanich and Micheal Baca take their oaths in Governor John Hickenlooper’s office at the Colorado Capitol. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)

Remember when a couple Democratic electors in Colorado were going to change the outcome of the presidential election by refusing to vote for Hillary Clinton, in hopes of inspiring Republican electors not to vote for Donald Trump, hence sparing the nation a president who looks directly into the sun during a solar eclipse?

Yeah, that happened.

Secretary of State Wayne Williams was not happy that Micheal Baca sought to substitute his judgement for the will of the voters of Colorado, and he referred the matter for prosecution. On Monday, Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman said she would not file charges in the case.

Here’s Coffman’s statement:

“My office has thoroughly investigated the circumstances surrounding this case. While the faithless elector intentionally sought to disrupt the election process and override the will of Colorado’s voters, he ultimately was unsuccessful. Thanks to the preparation and swift action of Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, and attorneys from my office, Colorado’s voters were protected and their votes counted.

The decision not to prosecute wasn’t reached lightly, and I in no way condone the elector’s reckless conduct. However, I am exercising my prosecutorial discretion so the individual cannot use our court system as a taxpayer-funded platform to capture more headlines and further flout the law.”

Williams wasn’t thrilled with the decision.

“I am disappointed by the decision not to prosecute the faithless elector who flagrantly violated his oath immediately after taking it,” Williams said in a press release. “While it is true that we worked successfully with the political parties and the courts to stop his attempt to steal the votes of 2.9 million Coloradans, the decision not to prosecute leaves Coloradans without an assurance that future electors won’t hijack the will of millions of Colorado voters.”

Baca, not surprisingly, welcomed it.

Both Coffman and Williams left the faithless elector nameless in their announcements, and they both pledged to work together to see if any laws or regulations need to change to prevent this from happening again.

Meanwhile, in “the best defense is a good offense,” two other electors who considered changing their votes but didn’t — Polly Baca (no relation) and Robert Nemanich — are suing Williams for intimidating them into voting for Clinton.

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.