Colorado appeals presidential ‘faithless electors’ ruling to Supreme Court

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Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Nancy Rice(R) swears in alternate Elector Celeste Landry(C) at the Colorado Capitol building in Denver, Colorado on December 19, 2016.
Rice swore in Landry after Elector Micheal Baca refused to vote for Hillary Clinton, the winner of Colorado’s nine Electoral votes. Members of America’s Electoral College convened across the country Monday to formally anoint Donald Trump as president, with opponents clinging to slim hopes of a revolt that could deny him power. / AFP / Chris Schneider (Photo credit should read CHRIS SCHNEIDER/AFP/Getty Images)

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DENVER -- Colorado officials said Wednesday they want the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn an appeals court ruling that presidential electors can vote for the candidate of their choice and aren't bound by the popular vote in their states.

The August decision by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver puts "our country at risk," Secretary of State Jena Griswold said at a news conference attended by Attorney General Phil Weiser.

Griswold has decried the ruling as a violation of the one person, one vote principle.

Critics have said the ruling raises the remote possibility that enough Electoral College members -- so-called "faithless electors" -- could ignore their states' popular vote to affect the outcome of a presidential election.

Four of the nine high court justices must agree to accept a case for it to be heard.

Presidential electors almost always vote for the popular vote winner, and some states have laws requiring them to do so.

Under the Electoral College system, voters who cast a ballot for president are choosing electors who are pledged to that presidential candidate. The electors then choose the president at the Electoral College.

In a split decision, the three-judge federal appeals panel said the Constitution allows electors to cast votes at their own discretion.

The panel ruled in the case of Colorado elector Michael Baca, who refused to vote for Democrat Hillary Clinton, the presidential winner in Colorado in 2016.

Baca crossed out Clinton's name on his ballot and wrote in John Kasich, the Republican governor of Ohio, who also ran for president.

Then-Secretary of State Wayne Williams removed Baca as an elector and replaced him with another who voted for Clinton.

The Denver court ruling applies to Colorado and five other states in the 10th Circuit: Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming.

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