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Colorado faithless elector referred to attorney general for potential prosecution

DENVER — The Colorado Secretary of State’s Office referred faithless Electoral College elector Micheal Baca to the attorney  general for investigation, it was announced Wednesday.

Baca was replaced after writing in Ohio Gov. John Kasich on the elector ballot instead of voting for Hillary Clinton on Monday as mandated by state law and several court rulings.

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Baca was among three electors trying to find the state law ruled unconstitutional so it could affect other states with similar laws. That way, electors in states that Trump won could be freed to vote for someone other than the president-elect.

That didn’t happen and Trump won the Electoral College on Monday to officially become president-elect.

Baca faces possible misdemeanor charges should the Attorney General’s Office decide to pursue them.

On Monday, a Denver District Court judge threw out an amended oath of office for the electors before the vote. But Secretary of State Wayne Williams was given the go-ahead to make a new temporary rule that said the electors would vote for Clinton.

Clinton won the popular vote in Colorado and state law binds the state’s electors to vote for the winner. State courts previously ruled the electors had to follow the law or be replaced.

Baca was replaced Celeste Landry of Boulder and she cast the ninth vote for Clinton.

On Wednesday, Deputy Secretary of State Suzanne Staiert referred Baca to Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, saying he “cast a ballot contrary to the oath.”

That was in violation of a state statute that says each “presidential elector shall vote for the presidential candidate and, by separate ballot, vice presidential candidate who received the highest number of votes at the preceding general election in this state,” Staiert wrote.

Williams had earlier said electors could face charges if they broke their oaths. Baca could face one year in jail or a $1,000 fine if he’s successfully prosecuted.

There were seven faithless electors nationwide, five among Democrats and two for Republicans. Four were in Washington state, two were in Texas and one was in Hawaii.

Three others — Baca, and one each in Minnesota and Maine — tried to change their votes but were unsuccessful.

No faithless elector has ever been punished.