Four out of 9 Colorado Electoral College members agree: Revolt is necessary

Four out of 9 Colorado Electoral College members agree: Revolt is necessary


Polly Baca, a former state senator from Colorado, has been involved in every presidential race since 1960. As one of nine members of the Electoral College from Colorado who is required by state law to vote for Hillary Clinton, she is involved in this one, too. But the longtime Democratic activist is considering writing in the name of a Republican instead.

Doing so, she says, might be the only way to keep Donald Trump from the White House.

“He is not the president-elect,” Baca told The Colorado Independent Monday. “He is not the president-elect until the Electoral College meets. And as an elector I’m hopeful that we can come up with an alternative.”

Over the weekend, Baca hosted four of the nine national electors from Colorado at her home in Denver. There they discussed how they might reach out to other national electors across the country as part of a plan to keep Trump from the Oval Office.

Their hope is enough national electors from around the country can rally behind an alternative and they can help propel that alternative to the White House instead of Trump. Because there are more Republican electors than Democrats nationally, that alternative would likely have to be a Republican.

According to those at the meeting, if a Republican alternative does emerge, all four agreed they would be OK voting for whomever it is. They would also be OK defying the state law that says they have to cast their electoral votes for Hillary Clinton because she carried Colorado.

Baca is clear that her obvious preference would be for Clinton to become president, especially following any official recounts that might occur in a handful of battleground states. But if that doesn’t happen, she said, she is willing to work with Republican electors around the nation “to find somebody that would be safe for our country.”

The other three Colorado electors at Saturday’s meeting were Bob Nemanich, a high school math teacher from Colorado Springs, Jerad Sutton of Greeley, also a math teacher, and Micheal Baca, a 24-year-old grad student who is not related to Polly Baca. The five who were not there were Terry Phillips, Amy Drayer, Mary Beth Corsentino, Ann Knollman and Rollie Heath.

Each of the nine were selected by their local Democratic colleagues in the spring to serve as national electors. They never would have predicted how months later they would be talking about being part of a potential revolt among the Electoral College. On Dec. 19, they will be summoned to the state Capitol in Denver where they’ll swear an oath and cast their official votes by physically writing in a name. 

“I didn’t quite see myself in this position, but I’m going to do all that I can to prevent Donald Trump,” Micheal Baca told The Independent. “And if that means sacrificing my ideals, sacrificing my party, for the country, I think that’s something important to do.”

Because Clinton won Colorado, all of the nine national electors in the state are Democrats. Not all of them are on record saying they are willing to become what is known as a “faithless elector” and vote for someone other than Clinton when the time comes.

Boulder Sen. Rollie Heath, for instance, says he is taking a wait-and-see approach in his own role as a national elector from Colorado.

“At this point we’re committed to vote for Hillary and a lot would have to happen to change that,” he said Monday. “I’m going to kind of keep an open mind and see how this whole thing plays out.”

The Colorado electors who attended the Denver meeting Saturday are just four out of 538 national college electors across the country. They are also part of an emerging movement within the national membership who have been dubbed “Hamilton Electors,” after Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, who discussed his beliefs in the Federalist papers about the role of the Electoral College as a way to prevent unqualified candidates from becoming president.

The framers of the U.S. Constitution set up this system as a check against direct democracy, which they did not trust. Because of it, each state is allotted a number of electors based on how many members of Congress the state has. In most states, the winner of the popular vote, no matter how slim the margin, takes all of that state’s electoral votes. The nominee who reaches 270 or more Electoral College votes wins the presidency no matter who racked up more actual ballots cast. Trump received 306 projected Electoral College votes to Clinton’s 232. Clinton, however, received more than 2 million more votes than Trump nationwide. 

A lawyer who was present at Saturday’s Denver meeting— he didn’t want his name published because he is not yet officially working with the electors and because of legal strategy— said the U.S Supreme Court has left open the question of whether it is constitutional to enforce state law to bind electors to whoever won a state.

“We believe it is not, under Article II and the 12th Amendment and how it is discussed by Hamilton in the federalist papers,” the lawyer said.

So far, electors from Colorado and Washington state have been leading a potential Electoral College revolt. At this weekend’s meeting, some names the four discussed for potential Trump alternatives included John McCain, Mitt Romney, John Kasich, Condoleezza Rice and Michael Bloomberg. 

During the meeting, the four agreed there has been enough influence on the 2016 election by Russians, either directly or indirectly, to bolster their potential role as faithless electors. The U.S. government in October officially blamed Russia for hacking emails from the Democratic National Committee, among other institutions and individuals, saying the hacks and subsequent leaks were “intended to interfere with the U.S. election process.” 

Bob Nemanich, the math teacher, says he believes Russian influence from cyber attacks and the hacking of email accounts had an impact on the election results.

“This is an attack on our representative form of government,” he said, adding that the question is: Who benefitted?

“We don’t have time to prosecute and investigate this,” Nemanich said. “We have to start making our own decisions [as electors].”

While those at Saturday’s meeting said they hoped more than just four of the nine would show up, Baca says she believes four others will come around. 

“I’ve spoken to all except for one,” she said, choosing not to name that member. “They all agree it’s possible and we should do something. The strategy is developing.”

Part of that strategy is to get as many of the 538 national electors as possible talking by setting up a private conference call. Web developers are also working on a secure system for them to communicate electronically, Micheal Baca said, and lawyers are working on legal strategies for potentially faithless electors in the 29 states with laws binding electors to whoever won the state. The group Hamilton Electors is also partnering with Unite For America, a national network of anti-Trump organizers to foster dialogue. 

“It was definitely just a group of concerned citizens trying to stop this,” Micheal Baca said about Saturday’s meeting in Denver. “We’re cautiously optimistic.”

The lawyer who is unofficially working with the group said national electors should be prepared for more public scrutiny than they might be used to, especially given their potential influence and how information is shared online these days. He likened such potential scrutiny to that of Ken Bone, the once-obscure red-sweatered audience member who asked an earnest question during the second presidential debate only to become an instant Internet meme and the subject of negative publicity.   

“These 538 folks, the vast majority of whom are just regular folks, shouldn’t be put through that kind of wringer,” the lawyer said. “But the reality of it is that they very well may be.”


*A previous version of this story misspelled Micheal Baca’s first name

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About the Author

Corey Hutchins

is a journalist in Colorado, and Columbia Journalism Review's Rocky Mountain correspondent for the United States Project. Follow him on Twitter @CoreyHutchins and email him at CoreyHutchins [at] gmail [dot] com.


  1. Marcia Martin on said:

    The #neverTrump Candidate, Evan McMullin, might be an appropriate choice. I know several (misguided, IMHO) folks who voted for him because of his reputation as a man of integrity. National Review dissed him hard – and that’s as good a recommendation as any in my book. For a (once and future) Republican, he’s not bad.

  2. Anna P on said:

    Love those subversive math teachers with their weapons of math instruction. Seriously, good luck in this effort – almost anyone would be better than Trump.

  3. Marcia Martin on said:

    OK, Mr Miller, you’ve convinced me. Your proposal is better. Colorado’Springs electors should remain faithful. May the Lords of Cosmic Jester help us all.

  4. john Miller on said:

    Wow! Thanks. I edited the Proclamation earlier today to reflect this article and other feedback. Feel free to share the proclamation – it has several links in it for more info. I can be reached via email per that page.

  5. Jay D on said:

    Because YOU don’t like Trump, it is therefore OK to break state law? You must be sooo much smarter than the all the people who voted for Trump as you have the ONLY solution, right? My goodness – how does one person become so self important that only SHE has the answer? That says a lot about at least one Hillary supporter…

  6. Charlie on said:

    If these people thwart the will of the people and appoint a non-elected president, I guarantee there will be a revolution, just not the kind they have in mind.

  7. Shredder on said:

    Make America Great Again.
    It’s called winning all you little Losers are sore. Go find a safe space and cry to Mommy.

  8. Pingback: The Hamilton electors; Preserving Malvern Hill Battlefield; Black history tourism and a National Monument for Birmingham; Miranda on Drunk History TONIGHT! | History Headlines

  9. Pingback: The Hamilton electors; Preserving Malvern Hill Battlefield; Black history tourism and a National Monument for Birmingham; Miranda on Drunk History TONIGHT! | History Headlines

  10. Mark Osterloh, MD, JD, RPh on said:

    Dear Electoral College Voters:

    There is still time to stop Donald Trump from becoming President by changing Electoral College voters’ minds. Many agree that Donald Trump has narcissistic personality disorder. His actions indicate that he may also have the much more dangerous borderline personality disorder. I spent ten years studying borderline personality disorder and wrote a book about it; I tell the stories of numerous notable people to illustrate the impact of the condition. Princess Diana, Marilyn Monroe, Mao Zedong, and Adolf Hitler had this mental illness.
    There are nine diagnostic criteria for borderline personality disorder (also called emotionally unstable personality disorder); a person must display five of the nine to be diagnosed. President-elect Trump appears to display seven of the signs of borderline personality disorder:

    1) Extreme faultfinding. The most important symptom is constantly finding faults in others and themselves. They see everything in black-and-white, all-good or all-bad terms. Those who disagree with them are all-bad. Borderlines inwardly criticize themselves but won’t admit it. Many of their actions are aimed at countering their poor self-image. This may include aggressive self-promotion and putting others down. They often blame all their problems on others while playing the role of victim. Borderlines rarely if ever apologize for their hurtful actions.
    2) Reckless impulsivity in spending, sex, or other areas. Trump’s businesses have declared bankruptcy four times and he has been a plaintiff or defendant in some 3,500 lawsuits. In the area of sex, his comments about his sexual assaults are revealing. He has gone through three wives. He has owned the Miss USA Pageant, alternately oogling naked contestants while they were dressing and later criticizing them.
    3) Intense mood swings. When Borderlines are questioned about their beliefs or actions they take it to be a personal attack. So volatile are these individuals that dealing with them is called “walking on eggshells.” Twitter rants!
    4) Intense and even uncontrolled anger. This was a defining theme of Trump’s campaign. He frequently expresses it and thrills in provoking it in his audiences.
    5) Serious identity disturbances. Borderlines often change their personalities and beliefs to match the people around them in order to be accepted or to gain an identity. It is hard to know what Trump really believes. He espouses different beliefs almost as often as the seasons change. For example, his political affiliations have been Democrat, Republican, Reformed Party, Democrat, Republican, Independent and now Republican. These individuals are often control freaks, feeling so out of control themselves that they try to bring stability to their lives by controlling others. Borderlines can also be hard to distinguish from sociopaths because they feel entitled to do whatever they want to others.
    6) Chronic feelings of emptiness. In order to fight these feelings Borderlines can become obsessed with seeking unending stimulation, possessions, love and admiration. No matter what you do for them, they are never satisfied. They can never have enough. Observe Trump’s bottomless pit of neediness for attention and ostentatious displays of wealth. Does he really care about others? Trump has been called “The least charitable billionaire in the world.”
    7) Transient stress-related paranoia or unreality episodes. Trump’s utterances display his paranoid ideas about all the bad people he imagines. His statements about how Congress and the world will run when he is President extend into the realm of unreality as do his tweet rants and conspiracy theories. Borderlines are notorious for lying and operating on the premise that their feelings make facts instead of facts making facts. This is emotional reasoning instead of logical reasoning. They accept delusions over facts in order to believe they don’t make mistakes and to confirm their view of the world.

    I cannot speak to whether or not President-elect Trump has displayed the last two symptoms of borderline personality disorder – suicide attempts/self-mutilation and frantic efforts to avoid abandonment – as I have not seen these on public display. Nevertheless, he seems to exhibit seven of the nine criteria for borderline personality disorder while only five are required for the diagnosis.
    Six percent of the population have this hard to recognize mental illness while only one in four is diagnosed. Many of the seventy-five percent who are never diagnosed are “high-functioning” and can be very successful as doctors, lawyers, professors and CEOs of companies. Unfortunately, they can make the lives of those who have to live or work with them miserable. And, borderline personality disorder is the deadliest mental illness in all of human history. The two psychological biographies of Adolf Hitler, The psychopathic god: Adolf Hitler and Hitler’s psychopathology both agree that he had borderline personality disorder. He was responsible for at least twenty-one million killed. Mao Zedong was diagnosed as Borderline by his physician of twenty-two years. He was responsible for seventy million killed.
    The thought of Adolf Hitler having nuclear weapons is terrifying. If Donald Trump has the same mental illness as Hitler, the terror is orders of magnitude greater. He could start a war that would destroy humanity and render our planet virtually uninhabitable. We need to know Donald Trump’s true mental health status. You can learn more by talking to psychologists who specialize in treating “high functioning” Borderlines, through my book Faultfinders: The impact of borderline personality disorder or by contacting me directly. I would be happy to discuss my observations of President-elect Trump’s mental status.
    I encourage you to share this information with others, including members of the Electoral College.

    Mark Osterloh, MD, JD, RPh
    P.O. Box 4310
    Palm Desert, CA 92261

  11. Jeff Congdon on said:

    The will of the people =2.5 million more votes for Clinton than Trump.
    Thank you to the brave members of the electoral college. John Kasic would be an ideal Republican choice. As a Democratic he has my nod of absolute approval.

  12. Rick R on said:

    Once again CO. has shown what a Cesspool runoff of CA. it has become! Another State full of brain dead Obama and Hilary Corruptibles! Obama and Hilary and the rest of the Corruptibles in his cabinet past and present Should all be sent to GIMO.

  13. Jay D on said:

    Dr. Osterloh,

    Please keep your analysis and diagnosis – no matter how off the mark they may be – to California. You would be better served analyzing your state’s desire to secede – which might not be such a bad idea. Golly – all those Hollywood know-it-alls gone. What will we do without them to tell us how to live?

  14. A on said:

    Mark Osterloh,
    The reality of the world is that psychology is a crock. As one of the only sciences that does not have a solid answer to a topic. It is never right or never wrong, it is never real or never fake, maybe your mom hated you or maybe she didn’t. You prove my point when advising that you have never seen the behaviors diagnosed as personality disorder, but Trump could have them. Fact is all of you people should be disgraced. Especially 50 year sitting politician (first of all Ms Baca, the Constitution never intended the job of a politician to be a life time committment) and because Trump ‘gives you fear’ doesn’t mean he is not qualified to do the job. You are motivated to change history and the election process because of your fears.
    The psychologist should evaluate you…even though it wont make a difference.
    Grow up people! Unlike Clinton, Trump has not mishandled information that led to the direct death of U.S. Citizens.

  15. Connie on said:

    I voted for Donald Trump!
    I am the only one having difficulty using the LIKE, REPLY or MARK AS SPAM? Actually not working at all for me on this site and others too!?
    Just curious as I have never had this issue beforeon any website.
    I am registered so that is not the problem?!
    Finally POLLY and MICHAEL BACA from Colorado’s Electoral seem to think they know more than everyone else in regards to the election. I am a third generation native Coloradoan and until two nights ago had never heard of POLLY BACA. Maybe she should go clean up Mexico as a start. That should keep her busy for the next forty or so years.

  16. Gail on said:

    What really amazes me is just how low our education system has stooped in the last 10 or 15 years. We have the largest span of educated, Uneducated Idiots in the whole world I do believe. This revolt for “Attention” by these electors should not only be shunned, but also prosecuted as a crime against the voters for stealing our votes. We, do still live in the United States as far as I know and we follow the Electoral system for a reason, it represents all the people without regards to population per state. Plus, we did find out in the recount Trump received all his votes and even gained more. We also found out Hillary received some illegal votes in Detroit, so were is the outrage here. No matter who exposed the “ugly” side of Hillary and the Democrat Party, that was information we all should be glad to have found out prior to voting. If some friend whispered to you that your other friend was stealing from your home, would you be angry?

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