Secretary of State Wayne Williams announced today that he has referred elector Micheal Baca of Denver to the Attorney General for investigation related to Monday’s Electoral College vote.
According to a statement from Deputy Secretary of State Suzanne Staiert, Baca took an oath to vote for the presidential candidate who won Colorado’s presidential contest on Nov. 8. He then “cast a ballot contrary to the oath.” Baca wrote in the name of Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
Staiert said Baca’s write-in vote violated state law that requires each presidential elector to vote for the presidential candidate who receives the highest number of votes at the preceding general election.
Baca was part of a national movement to encourage electors to write in the name of someone other than President-elect Donald Trump during Monday’s vote. The so-called Hamilton electors, or “faithless electors,” as Williams calls them, hoped that 37 Republican electors would cast votes for Kasich or someone other than Trump, which then would have throw the decision to the U.S. House of Representatives. In the end, however, only two Republicans, both from Texas, chose to vote for someone other than Trump. Five Democrats, not including Baca, voted for someone other than Clinton. Four were in Washington state and the fifth was in Hawaii.
Once Baca wrote in Kasich’s name, he was replaced by an alternate elector, Celeste Landry of Boulder, who then voted for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, who won the Nov. 8 contest. The other eight electors also voted for Clinton. Two, in addition to Baca, complained that a last-minute change in the oath of office for the electors, which included a statement that they would vote for the winner of the presidential contest, was unconstitutional and that they took the oath “under duress.”
According to the Secretary of State’s office, electors were warned they could face misdemeanor charges if they did not vote for Clinton at the Electoral College ceremony on Monday. The penalty for misdemeanor perjury is up to two years in jail and up to a $5,000 fine.
“On advice of counsel, I cannot comment,” Baca told The Colorado Independent today.
A call to Attorney General Cynthia Coffman’s spokesperson to ask if she intended to investigate was not immediately returned.
Photo credit: Wayne Williams, photo by Secretary of State’s office; Micheal Baca, photo credit Allen Tian, The Colorado Independent