OUR LEGAL FIGHT TO ALLOW ELECTORS TO VOTE THEIR CONSCIENCE
THE LEGAL ARGUMENT
THE LEGAL ARGUMENT
It is the view of many that the Constitution secures to presidential electors the freedom to vote their conscience for president and vice president. We agree with that view. But whether you do or not, everyone should agree that the question should be resolved before it creates a constitutional crisis.
We’re helping electors in Colorado and Washington who were threatened or fined by their state government for voting their conscience in 2016 — so as to assure that the Supreme Court resolves this question before the next election.
We believe the Supreme Court will affirm elector freedom. That will give states the opportunity to respond before the next election. The most likely — and effective — response would be for states to join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. 270 electors were pledged to the winner of the national popular vote automatically, then the additional electors from non-Compact states would be certain to create a margin significant enough to neutralize any effect of elector independence.
Nemanich v. Colorado Department of State (2017)
We have filed a lawsuit on behalf of three electors in Colorado who sought to defend their constitutional freedom to vote their conscience in the last presidential election as federal electors. Michael Baca, Polly Baca, and Robert Nemanich believed the special circumstances of the last election required that they vote their conscience, contrary to a pre-election pledge. Secretary of State Wayne Williams threatened them with removal, if they indeed did vote against their pledge, as well as criminal prosecution.
Guerra v. Washington State Office of Administrative Hearings (2017)
Washington State fined three electors, Peter Bret Chiafalo, Levi Jennet Guerra, and Esther Virginia John, who voted their conscience, contrary to a pre-election pledge. This case raises the question whether the state of Washington has the constitutional power to compel its electors to vote for a particular presidential and vice-presidential candidate, i.e. whether states may penalize an elector who votes contrary to her pledge, by imposing a civil fine or other penalty. We are supporting the legal defense of these electors to resolve the constitutional question.
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE CASES
Colorado – Michael Baca, Polly Baca and Robert Nemanich v. Colorado Department of State
- Second Amended Complaint – October 25, 2017
- Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss – November 8, 2017
- Plaintiff’s Response to Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss – December 22, 2017
- Reply in Support of Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss – January 19, 2018
- Order on Motion To Dismiss – April 10, 2018
- Opening Brief of Appellants – June 25, 2018
- Opening Brief of Appellants Appendix – June 25, 2018
- Brief for Amicus Independence Institute in Support of Plaintiffs-Appellants – June 27, 2018
- Brief of Amici Curiae Michael L. Rosin and David G. Post – June 27, 2018
- Amicus Curiae Brief of Derek T. Muller In Support of Neither Party – July 2, 2018
- Appellee’s Response Brief – August 22, 2018
- Appellee’s Supplemental Appendix – August 22, 2018
- Brief of Amicus Curiae Colorado Republican Committee – August 29, 2018
- Amicus Curiae Brief of Robert M. Hardaway – August 29, 2018
- Reply Brief of Appellants – September 17, 2018
Washington – Levi Guerra, Esther v. John, and Peter B. Chiafalo v. Washington State Office of Administrative Hearings
- Petitioners’ Opening Brief – October 24, 2017
- Secretary of State’s Responding Brief – November 13, 2017
- Petitioners’ Reply Brief – December 12, 2017
- Appellants’ Statement of Grounds for Direct Review By The Supreme Court – December 29, 2017
- Answer to Statement of Grounds – January 26, 2018
- Brief of Appellants – May 10, 2018
- Brief of Respondent – July 11, 2018
- Reply Brief of Appellants – August 10, 2018
- Brief for Amicus Curiae Independence Institute – December 5, 2018
- Brief of Amicus Curiae Michael L. Rosin – December 7, 2018
- Secretary of State’s Combined Response to Amici Independence Institute and Michael L. Rosin – January 8, 2019
Three Washington Democrats will explain Tuesday to the state Supreme Court why they voted against their party's presidential nominee in the 2016 election. The three, Levi Guerra, Esther V. John, and Peter B. Chiafalo, were among 12 Democrats the state sent to the...
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