Politics

Four Washington State Electors Vote Against Clinton

| by Lauren Briggs

For the first time in four decades, Electoral College voters in Washington broke from their ranks and voted against their pledged candidate on Dec. 19.

Four of the state's 12 Democratic voters cast their ballots against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, three of them voting for former Secretary of State Colin Powell as per the guidelines of the "Hamilton electors," and another voting for Faith Spotted Eagle, a Native American activist best known for her protests of the Dakota Access Pipeline, reports The Seattle Times.

The state yielded the highest number of "faithless electors," as most electoral voters across the nation cast their ballots for their pledged candidates, despite talk of the Hamilton electors and others convincing Trump-pledged electors to support a different candidate to block him from reaching the required 270 electoral votes.

Even so, Trump breezed past the threshold, securing 304 votes, which is only two fewer than those he earned on Nov. 8, notes NPR. Across the country, three additional Democratic electoral voters attempted to break from their Clinton-pledged votes and support other candidates such as Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, but state rules blocked their votes.

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"I think we did what we thought was right," Washington electoral voter Bret Chiafalo, who supported Powell, told The Seattle Times. He said that the Electoral College was set up to allow its members to vote their conscience.

For vice president, the Evergreen state's four faithless votes went to U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Susan Collins and Maria Cantwell, along with environmentalist Winona LaDuke.

Several electors said that they voted against Clinton to make a statement about the electoral college system.

"We live in perilous times," said Robert Satiacum, who voted for Faith Spotted Eagle, whom he called a "real leader." "What's it going to take to wake this country up? It never should have come down to this."

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However, not everyone is thrilled with the four faithless votes, as evidenced by a heated argument that broke out following Satiacum's vote.

"I am disappointed that they chose to make a personal political statement rather than to represent the will of the votes and of Washington state," said State Democratic Party Chair Jaxon Ravens, who added that the state's Democrats will look into toughening up the laws to bind electoral voters to the candidate they pledge to support.

All four faithless electors in Washington are expected to be fined, in accordance with the state's laws.

Sources: The Seattle Times, NPR  / Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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