2016 U.S. elections

 

2nd Electoral College voter considers not voting for Clinton


PUBLISHED Sun, November 06, 2016 - 1:22am EDT


A second Democratic elector in Washington state says he is considering the possibility of not voting for Hillary Clinton if she wins the state's popular vote, which would mean the former secretary of state may need more electoral votes than Donald Trump.

Bret Chiafalo, who supported U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders during the Democratic primaries, told the Seattle Times on Saturday that he is considering to be a "conscientious elector" and vote for the person he believes would be the best president.

"I have no specific plans, but I have not ruled out that possibility," the elector from Everett told the newspaper. He added that he believes the state's law that punishes electors who don't follow the popular vote is unconstitutional.

Chiafalo said he plans to set up a website to educate electors from all political parties about their rights and to raise awareness about the Electoral College system, which he says should be ditched because it is outdated.

"As long as it is the law of the land we need to be honest about it and respect it," he told the Seattle Times.

The news comes just a day after Robert Satiacum, another Democratic elector from Washington, confirmed that he has no plans to vote for the former secretary of state if she wins. Satiacum also supported Sanders and said he would rather pay a fine than vote for Clinton.

Satiacum called Clinton a "criminal" who doesn't care enough about American Indians and added that "she's done nothing but flip back and forth." He told the Associated Press that he has wrestled with what to do but feels that neither Clinton nor Donald Trump can lead the country.

"She will not get my vote, period ... This is a time we all need to stand up and speak out," Satiacum told the AP on Friday. He added in a separate interview with the Seattle Times that he hopes his vote would stop Clinton from becoming president. "She ain't getting it. Maybe it'll wake this country up," he said.

Americans will vote on Tuesday to pick their next president, but in reality they will choose electors who have pledged to vote for their party's nominee. If Clinton wins the popular vote in Washington state as is expected, Satiacum and Chiafalo will be among the state's 12 electors.

The men will then be 2 of 538 electors to formally elect the president on December 19. A presidential candidate needs 270 electoral votes to win, but if the two men break their pledge it would mean Clinton needs to secure 2 extra electoral votes to reach 270. Trump, however, would not be affected.

In the unlikely event that neither Trump nor Clinton reach 270 votes in the electoral college, the U.S. House of Representatives will determine the next president.

There is no Constitutional provision or federal law that requires electors to vote according to their state's election results, though some states have local laws against so-called faithless electors. Washington state has a law that imposes a $1,000 fine on electors who break their pledge.

Throughout the history of the United States, less than 1 percent of electors have broken their pledge, though it never changed the outcome of an election. The last time it happened was in 2000 when Barbara Lett-Simmons from Washington, D.C. refused to cast her vote for Al Gore to protest the District's lack of congressional representation.

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