DENVER — A U.S. District Court judge shot down a lawsuit filed by two Democratic members of Colorado’s Electoral College who want to vote for someone other than Hillary Clinton.
It might sound counterintuitive, but it is part of a last-ditch effort to elect someone other than Donald Trump.
Trump lost the popular vote by the largest margin of any winning president — 2,639,000 votes — but won enough states to give him 306 Electoral College votes, according to CNN. He only needed 270 votes to win.
Activists are hoping to block Trump from taking office by convincing 270 electors to unite behind a compromise candidate. They would need to persuade all 232 Democratic electors as well as 38 Republican electors to vote for someone else.
“Because more national electors are Republicans, they assume the alternative would have to be a Republican,” the Colorado Independent said. “And even as Democrats they are OK with that because it’s likely a Republican they might choose … would be better than Trump.”
The move would be unprecedented, but not unconstitutional, experts say.
However, Colorado and 28 other states require members of the Electoral College to vote for whoever won the popular vote in their state.
Two of Colorado’s nine electors, former State Sen. Polly Baca and math teacher Bob Nemanich, filed a lawsuit against the state challenging that requirement.
Lawyers for the state called the lawsuit a “corrupt and illegal conspiracy” to block Trump.
At a hearing Monday, U.S. District Court Judge Wiley Daniel struck down the lawsuit and called it a “political stunt.”
So-called faithless electors might be subject to fines or could be disqualified for casting an invalid vote and be replaced by a substitute elector.
“The Supreme Court has not specifically ruled on the question of whether pledges and penalties for failure to vote as pledged may be enforced under the Constitution,” according to a federal government website. “No elector has ever been prosecuted for failing to vote as pledged.”
Members of the Electoral College will meet in their respective state capitals on Dec. 19 to cast their official votes.
There’s a hearing in state court Tuesday to help the secretary of state determine what to do if the electors don’t follow the law.