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Colorado 'faithless elector' Micheal Baca referred to attorney general for possible prosecution

Posted: 5:25 PM, Dec 21, 2016
Updated: 2016-12-21 21:46:47-05

DENVER – The Colorado Democratic elector who was replaced Monday after writing Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s name on the elector ballot , instead of voting for Hillary Clinton in accordance with state law, will face investigation by the state attorney general for possible charges.

Micheal Baca, who was among three “Hamilton electors” from Colorado trying to flip electors across the country to not vote for Donald Trump, faces possible misdemeanor charges should the attorney general decide to pursue them.

After a Denver District Court judge tossed an amended oath of office for electors a half-hour before they were set to take their oaths and cast their electoral votes.

But Secretary of State Wayne Williams was allowed to make a new rule, and was able to put together a temporary rule that added nearly identical language to the electors’ oaths in that half hour.

The oath all nine electors took, including Baca , said that they were to vote for the presidential candidate who won the popular vote in Colorado. It was based off an existing statute in Colorado law that says as much, thus binding the Democratic electors to Clinton this year.

Baca and the two other “Hamilton electors” – Polly Baca and Robert Nemanich – took the new oaths.

But Micheal Baca did not check the only box on the ballot, which was for Clinton and her running mate, Timothy Kaine.

Instead, he wrote Kasich’s name on the ballot . State courts had ruled last week that should an elector fail to vote for Clinton, he or she would be replaced.

Indeed, Baca was replaced by Celeste Landry of Boulder after an on-the-spot vote by the other electors. She voted for Clinton and Kaine.

Williams had said he planned to refer Baca to the attorney general to face possible prosecution.

Wednesday, Deputy Secretary of State Suzanne Staiert officially referred Baca, saying he “cast a ballot contrary to the oath” and in violation of state statute.

It will now be up to Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman to decide whether or not to prosecute Baca. He could face misdemeanor charges that could lead to a fine or possible jail time should Coffman pursue charges.

No "faithless elector" has ever been punished, according to the National Archive.

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