Colorado faithless elector will not be prosecuted by attorney general

DENVER — Attorney General Cynthia Coffman will not be prosecuting the faithless Electoral College elector Micheal Baca, her office announced Monday.

Baca, who was one of Colorado’s nine electors in the Electoral College, wrote in Ohio Gov. John Kasich instead of voting for Hillary Clinton on Dec. 19 as mandated by state law and several court rulings.

He was replaced by Celeste Landry of Boulder who voted for Clinton.

Baca’s vote was an attempt to get electors around the country to deny Donald Trump the presidency.

“My office has thoroughly investigated the circumstances surrounding this case,” Coffman said in a statement. “While the faithless elector intentionally sought to disrupt the election process and override the will of Colorado’s voters, he ultimately was unsuccessful.”

“Thanks to the preparation and swift action of Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, and attorneys from my office, Colorado’s voters were protected and their votes counted.”

Coffman’s statement continued:

“The decision not to prosecute wasn’t reached lightly, and I in no way condone the elector’s reckless conduct. However, I am exercising my prosecutorial discretion so the individual cannot use our court system as a taxpayer-funded platform to capture more headlines and further flout the law.”

“I have offered to work with Secretary Williams to evaluate options for strengthening Colorado’s election laws and procedures. Some of the potential solutions may include providing for the automatic disqualification of an elector and the immediate substitution of an alternate elector by operation of law, and voting for alternate electors at the same time as electors. I thank the Secretary for his leadership, passion and commitment to protecting our election process.”

There are 29 states, including Colorado, that require members of the Electoral College to vote for whoever won the popular vote in their state.

During the 2016 presidential election, 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.