‘Hamilton Electors’ Aim to Overturn Election Results
Following President-elect Donald Trump’s 306-232 electoral vote win, a group of electors who have the final say are pushing to overturn the results.
Calling themselves the “Hamilton Electors,” Michael Baca of Colorado and Bret Chiafalo of Washington state are seeking to persuade 37 Electors to either change their vote from Trump to “another qualified individual,” or abstain from voting altogether. If Trump were to receive 269, or less, electoral votes, the US House of Representatives would then be required to vote to elect an alternative.
As of last week, the duo claimed that there were six “Hamilton Electors” in their group. The problem is that all are Democrats, and therefore their disdain for Trump may not actually make a difference. Chiafalo, an Elector pledged to Hillary Clinton, claims that he will vote for someone other than the former First Lady if enough Republicans are willing to vote against Trump.
“If I believe it will help… I will vote for a Republican compromise candidate,” Chiafalo told the Spokesman-Review. His state of Washington has a “faithless elector” statute which means he could face a $1,000 fine. In some states, the website notes, going against the will of the voters you represent is a misdemeanor or even a felony.
In an attempt to bring some Republicans on board, Chiafalo created a video which he posted to YouTube explaining the role of electors, and how they are meant to be a safeguard against electing someone who is unfit or unqualified. Chiafalo insists that he knows best, and is calling on others to join him.
On Tuesday, Texas elector Chris Suprun answered the call and announced that he will not honor the will of his neighboring voters.
“The United States was set up as a republic. Alexander Hamilton provided a blueprint for states’ votes. Federalist 68 argued that an Electoral College should determine if candidates are qualified, not engaged in demagogy, and independent from foreign influence,” Suprun wrote in an opinion piece for the New York Times. “Mr. Trump shows us again and again that he does not meet these standards. Given his own public statements, it isn’t clear how the Electoral College can ignore these issues, and so it should reject him.”
The “Never Trump” Texan has suggested Governor John Kasich of Ohio would be a good choice for the President-elect’s replacement.
In November, another Republican Elector from Texas stepped down from his role, saying that the President-elect is not “biblically qualified.”
Elector Art Sisneros of Dayton, Texas, explained his reasoning in a blog post titled, “Conflicted Elector in a Corrupt College,” which detailed his own internal battle with having to vote for Trump.
“When running for the Presidential Elector Nominee some six months ago, I had no idea the conflict that would ensue both from without and within,” Sisneros wrote. “To say that it has been an ‘educating experience’ would be an understatement.”
Sisneros explained that he ran for the position of Elector with a “basic understanding of the difference between a republic and a pure democracy,” and how the Electoral College is perhaps the most important difference between the two.
The conflicted Elector explained that allowing the voters to choose their own President is akin to allowing children to eat Skittles for dinner.
“Good parents act in the best interest of their children. At times this may even be contrary to the desire of the children. In most homes, kids do not have the right to vote to eat Skittles for dinner. It is not in their best interest,” he wrote. “The parents have a delegated authority to protect those under their jurisdiction. Hamilton, in a similar way, saw the role of the body of Electors (representatives) as a protection for the nation.”
Ultimately, Sisneros decided that since he does not believe that Trump is “biblically qualified,” his election will “bring dishonor on God.” For that reason, he chose to step down and allow another elector to take his place.
“Since I can’t in good conscience vote for Donald Trump, and yet have sinfully made a pledge that I would, the best option I see at this time is to resign my position as an Elector. This will allow the remaining body of Electors to fill my vacancy when they convene on Dec 19 with someone that can vote for Trump. The people will get their vote. They will get their Skittles for dinner.”