As of Friday, March 17, 2017
The so-called “faithless electors” who chose not to support Hillary Clinton in the Electoral College will have to ante up for their willful violation of state law. On Wednesday, a judge upheld $1,000 fines levied against each by the Office of the Secretary of State.
Administrative Law Judge Robert C. Krabill agreed the secretary of state may assess a civil penalty of up to $1,000 against each of the four electors.
While we commend the four faithless electors for wisely casting their electoral votes for anyone other than Hillary Clinton, we also believe there is a price to pay for a willful violation of state law and of the voters’ trust.
Luckily, their decision didn’t affect the outcome of the election, in which Donald J. Trump won more than enough electoral votes to take the presidency.
The Electoral College vote issue has also been a point of debate in the Legislature this year. A measure was introduced to change the Electoral College voting system from statewide winner-take-all to a per-Congressonal District vote.
While that measure doesn’t appear to be going anywhere this session, we also support that idea because it helps mitigate the potential number of disenfranchised voters — like the four faithless voters who opted for someone other than our winner-take-all conferee Hillary Clinton.
Had a per-Congressional district Electoral College vote allocation system been in place for the 2016 presidential election, Trump would have received at least two Electoral College votes from our side of the state, which overwhelmingly supported the real estate mogul.
Eastern Washington voters certainly feel disenfranchised from the current system, as well as the Legislative process dominated by urbanites from west of the Cascades. And changing the allocation would go a long way toward improving how voters feel about our state’s political structure.
It may have also alleviated the need to fine electors who said they could just not stomach voting for Hillary Clinton.