EC LEGAL MATERIALS
Guerra v. Washington State Office of Administrative Hearings
Petitioners’ Opening Brief, October 24, 2017
IN THE SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON IN AND FOR THURSTON COUNTY
In the matter of:
Levi Guerra, Esther V. John, and Peter B. Chiafalo,
Washington State Office of Administrative Hearings
Cause No. 17-2-02446-34
OFFICE OF ADMINISTRATIVE HEARINGS, Docket Nos.
PETITIONERS’ OPENING BRIEF
The sole issue presented by this appeal is whether the State of Washington may, constitutionally, compel its Presidential Electors to vote for a particular presidential and vicepresidential candidate.
The parties agree that Washington has “plenary” authority to select the electors it wants. They agree that Washington may require those electors to pledge to a particular candidate. And they agree that Appellants in this case had pledged to support the Democratic nominees for President and Vice-President, but in fact voted for candidates other than those nominees. The only question that the parties disagree about is whether Washington may penalize an elector who votes contrary to her pledge, by imposing a civil fine or other penalty.
This is a critically important question that deserves expedited review by this Court. While hundreds of electors throughout history have voted contrary to their pledge, 2016 saw the largest number vote independently in the history of the electoral college. Most of these electors cast their ballots based on the good faith belief that the Constitution entitled them to depart from their pledge. Appellants share that belief. But regardless of whether that belief is correct, the nation needs a clear resolution on the constitutional power of electors, before the action of any elector creates a constitutional crisis.
Our Current Project: Equal Votes
In a Democracy, All Votes Should Count Equally
In our democracy, when voting for the president, they do not
Because of the winner-take-all allocation of electoral votes, if you don’t vote for the candidate who wins your state, your vote counts for nothing. That violates the Constitution’s “one person, one vote” principle. Lawrence Lessig and an all-star legal team is filing a case in court to challenge this system. Join this fight for citizen equality.
Equal Citizens is a non-profit organization dedicated to reforms that will achieve citizen equality. We launch campaigns that will end the corruption of our representative democracy by restoring the core promise of equality.