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Colorado Asks U.S. Supreme Court To Force Presidential Electors To Follow Voters' Will

The U.S. Supreme Court building at sunset.
The U.S. Supreme Court building at sunset.

Colorado is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to take up a case that could have big implications for future presidential elections.

Secretary of State Jena Griswold and Attorney General Phil Weiser are hoping the nation's highest court will decide that presidential electors must follow state laws that require them to vote for the candidate who wins the most votes in the state.

The legal challenge comes after the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in August that former Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams was wrong to remove a presidential elector who refused to cast a vote for Hillary Clinton, who won the state's popular vote in 2016.

Colorado law dictates presidential electors must vote for the candidate who gets the most votes.

Griswold said Wednesday the appeals court's ruling "undermines voters and sets a dangerous precedent for our nation."

"When Coloradans cast their votes, they expect them to be counted," she said. "With our democracy under constant attack we should be empowering voters to participate, not dissuading them."

Griswold and Weiser want the Supreme Court to take up the case before the 2020 election.

They aren't the only ones looking to the Supreme Court to bring clarity to the issue.

A group of presidential electors in Washington are also asking the court to weigh in after they were fined for voting for Colin Powell instead of Clinton in the 2016 election.

Capitol Coverage is a collaborative public policy reporting project, providing news and analysis to communities across Colorado for more than a decade. Eleven public radio stations participate in Capitol Coverage from throughout Colorado.

Copyright 2019 KUNC

Scott Franz is a government watchdog reporter and photographer from Steamboat Springs. He spent the last seven years covering politics and government for the Steamboat Pilot & Today, a daily newspaper in northwest Colorado. His reporting in Steamboat stopped a police station from being built in a city park, saved a historic barn from being destroyed and helped a small town pastor quickly find a kidney donor. His favorite workday in Steamboat was Tuesday, when he could spend many of his mornings skiing untracked powder and his evenings covering city council meetings. Scott received his journalism degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He is an outdoorsman who spends at least 20 nights a year in a tent. He spoke his first word, 'outside', as a toddler in Edmonds, Washington. Scott visits the Great Sand Dunes, his favorite Colorado backpacking destination, twice a year. Scott's reporting is part of Capitol Coverage, a collaborative public policy reporting project, providing news and analysis to communities across Colorado for more than a decade. Fifteen public radio stations participate in Capitol Coverage from throughout Colorado.
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