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Decision in Washington electors’ case conflicts with 10th Circuit

In 2016, four electors from Washington broke 40 years of tradition in the Electoral College by casting their votes for candidates other than the state’s popular vote winner.

While Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton earned eight of the state’s votes in the Electoral College, former Secretary of State Colin Powell got three and Native American tribal leader Faith Spotted Eagle got one.

Washington has a so-called “faithless elector” statute, which says electors are required to vote for the person winning the state’s popular vote and calls for a civil fine of up to $1,000 if the elector breaks their vow.

All four electors were fined $1,000, but the three who voted for Powell appealed to the state Supreme Court, which in May upheld the fines.

The state Supreme Court ruling conflicts with the recent federal ruling by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which found electors aren’t bond by the popular vote.

Vancouver was represented in the 2016 presidential election by Ryleigh Ivey, a then-18-year-old senior at Hudson’s Bay High School. Though she’d been an early supporter of Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders, she wasn’t among the defectors.

“I have an oath, but I also have the people who elected me who want someone else. I have a whole bunch to consider,” Ivey told The Columbian at the time. “If I knew there were enough electors across the country who were going to do it and it would break Trump’s victory, I would consider it … but at this point, it’s not really worth it.”

Ivey ended up casting her vote for Clinton as a last-minute decision, she said.


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