Nemanich v. Williams (Colorado DCt 2017)

We have filed a lawsuit on behalf of two electors in Colorado who sought to defend their constitutional freedom to vote their conscience in the last presidential election as federal electors. 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.

We believe that Williams’ threats violated Baca and Nemanich’s rights, because the Constitution secures to electors the freedom to vote their conscience. Our argument will draw on the understanding of the framers about the role of the Electoral College, as well as relatively recent Supreme Court authority that affirms electors’ freedom.

Yet, whether or not the Court ultimately rules that electors are free, we believe it is critical to resolve this question before the next election. A record number of electors voted contrary to their pledge in 2016. That fact could encourage others to do the same in the next election. It is critically important that the Supreme Court resolve this question before the next election. We are hopeful that this case will be the vehicle for resolving this crucial issue.

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