A lawsuit by two Democratic electors is seeking to overturn state laws that bind Electoral College electors, and if successful, could open the door to the Electoral College rejecting Trump.
Politico obtained a copy of the federal lawsuit filing by Colorado Democratic electors Polly Baca and Robert Nemanich:
“Plaintiffs are entitled to exercise their judgment and free will to vote for whomever they believe to be the most qualified and fit for the offices of President and Vice President, whether those candidates are Democrats, Republicans, or from a third party,” they argue in a brief signed by Denver attorney Jason Wesoky.
In their brief, Baca and Nemanich say Colorado’s statute violates multiple constitutional principles. The most basic is the Founders’ conception of the Electoral College itself, contained in Article II. Citing Alexander Hamilton’s original description of the Electoral College, they note that the Founders intended it to act as a check on the popular will, to ensure the election of a qualified candidate. In fact, for the first century of America’s existence, most states didn’t hold popular elections for president, and states simply appointed electors.
“It’s difficult to imagine a more impermissible law than one that requires someone to vote for a specific candidate. The concept is antithetical to the notion of democracy, free speech, and the Electoral College,” they write.
Could a lawsuit like this work? Could the Electoral College electors rebel? The answer to these questions is that no one is quite sure. The laws binding electors to the popular vote winner have never been challenged, so they have never had to be enforced. The lawsuit itself is a long shot, but if it were successful, it would give the electors the power to vote their conscience and break away from Trump.
The odds are slim that the plaintiffs will win their lawsuit, but the suit itself is proof that Trump opponents are pulling out all of the stops to keep him from the White House. There could be more drama than is usually associated with the Electoral College. It is important to be realistic, but from electors refusing to support Trump to lawsuits that are seeking to free up electors to make their own decisions, it’s clear that getting to the Electoral College vote is not going to be easy or smooth for Republicans.