DENVER (CN) — Two presidential electors have asked Colorado to allow them to vote for someone other than Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton in the Dec. 19 Electoral College vote, in hope of garnering 37 votes from across the country to invalidate Trump’s election.
Former state House member and state Senator Polly Baca and Robert Nemanich challenged Colorado’s Presidential Electors statute in Federal Court on Tuesday. The say the law unconstitutionally requires electors to vote in accordance with the state’s popular vote in presidential elections.
Hillary Clinton won the popular vote in Colorado, 1.2 million votes to Trump’s 1.1 million, but Colorado’s nine electors should not be “constitutionally compelled” to vote for Clinton, Baca and Nemanich say.
They describe themselves as part of a “moral electors” movement that seeks to dilute the Dec. 19 electoral vote enough to keep Trump from getting the 270 electoral votes he needs to become president.
“Plaintiffs are entitled to exercise their judgment and free will to vote for whomever they believe to be the most qualified,” the complaint states.
“Plaintiffs may vote for a consensus candidate, other than Clinton or Trump, upon whom electors from both parties and along the ideological spectrum can agree, so as to prevent the unqualified Mr. Trump and Mr. Pence from ascending to the highest offices in the United States.”
Though the plaintiffs are obligated to cast their electoral votes for Clinton, they reserve most of their ire in the complaint for Trump.
“Plaintiffs believe that Donald Trump is unfit for office due to, inter alia, his myriad conflicts of interests; his foreign business dealings; his belief – against all facts – that climate change and global warming are a ‘hoax;’ the criminal and civil claims currently pending against him; his temperament; his promises to discriminate against Muslims and Latinos; his recent correspondence regarding his personal business dealings with the governments of India and Argentina; his lack of experience (most recently embodied by his call with Taiwan); his selection for attorney general a person who failed confirmation hearings in the 1980’s due to sworn testimony that he was racist; his selection for secretary of education who lacks any teaching degree or experience, has likely never attended public schools, has refused to send her children to public schools, and has a vested interest in for-profit schools; his prior bankruptcies; his refusal to provide information regarding his investments and holdings; his penchant for nepotism; and his threats to use nuclear weapons against other sovereign nations.”
After unloading on Vice President-elect Michael Pence in the next paragraph, Baca and Nemanich express no specific objections to Clinton or her running mate, but say that as electors, they “cannot be constitutionally compelled to vote for them. 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,” they say.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney have been mentioned as possible “consensus candidates,” though Kasich published a Tweet on Tuesday saying he is “not a candidate for president” and asked electors not to write him in.
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, a defendant, called the electors’ lawsuit “odious.”
“Instead of honoring the will of the Coloradans who voted for them, these two faithless electors seek to conspire with electors from other states to elect a president who did not receive a single vote in November,” Williams said in a statement Tuesday.
“Make no mistake, this is not some noble effort to fight some unjust or unconstitutional law; rather, this is an arrogant attempt by two faithless electors to elevate their personal desires over the entire will of the people of Colorado. And in so doing, they seek to violate Colorado law and their own pledges.”
With the Electoral College vote set for Dec. 19, a hearing in the case may be imminent.
Baca and Nemanich are represented by Jason Wesoky with Darling & Milligan in Denver.