A Democrat Elector in Washington state won’t vote for Hillary Clinton even if she wins the popular vote in his state on Election Day. “She will not get my vote, period,” he said in a phone interview with the Associated Press:
Robert Satiacum, a member of Washington’s Puyallup Tribe, supported Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary. He said he believes Clinton is a “criminal” who doesn’t care enough about American Indians and “she’s done nothing but flip back and forth.”
Satiacum feels that neither Clinton nor Republican Donald Trump can lead the country. According to the AP, Satiacum said he has gotten a lot of criticism since he told media outlets earlier this month that he might not vote for Clinton. But he said he has also heard from Electors in other states who thanked him for speaking out. He said he hopes some of those Electors follow his lead.
Satiacum is one of 12 Democrat Electors in Washington, which Hillary is expected to win. There is no Constitutional provision nor Federal law that requires Electors to vote according to the results of the popular vote in their states. Some states, including Washington, require Electors to cast their votes according to the popular vote — so-called “faithless Elector” laws. Satiacum faces a $1,000 fine in Washington if he doesn’t vote for Clinton, if she wins, but he says he doesn’t care.
This isn’t the first time there has been a faithless Elector. According to the National Archives, 99 percent of Electors through U.S. history have voted for their party’s candidate, and none of the dissenters has ever changed the result of an election.
The U.S. Supreme Court has held that the Constitution does not require that Electors be completely free to act as they choose and therefore, political parties may extract pledges from electors to vote for the parties’ nominees. The Supreme Court has not specifically ruled on the question of whether pledges and penalties for failure to vote as pledged may be enforced under the Constitution. No Elector has ever been prosecuted for failing to vote as pledged.
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