Wash. elector asks Republican electors to 'vote their conscience'

A Washington Democratic elector is trying to start a national movement, asking Republican electors to "vote their conscience."

SEATTLE - The electoral college will officially vote to make Donald Trump president in December, but already there's a Washington Democratic elector who is trying to start a national movement, asking Republican electors to "vote their conscience.” 

“I’m not going to lie to anyone. This is a long shot. That being said, it’s exactly what the founding fathers designed when they made the constitution and the Electoral College,” P. Bret Chiafalo told KING 5 Thursday. 

Chiafalo says the Electoral College was designed to stop an unfit president-elect from taking office, and he plans to launch a social media campaign to spread the word to Republican electors in states that voted for Trump. 

“We’re also planning in the next few weeks to reach out to them individually not to try and convince them of anything, but to educate them of what the electoral college really is and give them the full slate of information they need to make a responsible decision on Dec. 19 when the electoral college meets and votes the president in,” he said. 

Currently, President-elect Donald Trump has 290 electoral votes, compared to Clinton’s 228 with two states -- Michigan and New Hampshire -- still too close to call.

It takes 270 electoral votes to win the presidency; anything below that would send the decision to Congress. However, it’s highly unlikely that a group of electors would defect. 

Video: What's the Electoral College?

Electors pledge to represent the popular vote of their respective states, and face penalties for not doing so. Some states bind electors by law; others, such as Washington State, threaten fines of $1,000. 

While there have been cases of “faithless electors,” who cast a protest electoral votes, including Washington State Sen. Michael Padden in 1976, it’s very rare. 

99 percent of the electors have voted as they pledged, according to the National Archives.

However, Washington state could have at least one more faithless elector this year. Democratic elector Robert Satiacum told KING 5 he cannot bring himself to vote for Clinton

Since Hillary Clinton carried Washington State, the 12 Democratic electors will head to Olympia next month.

Bret Chiafalo says he remains undecided as to whether he will vote for Clinton, or write-in someone else.  

“Depending on how our movement goes, there may be a situation where I would vote for a more moderate Republican like Mitt Romney to encourage the Republican electors to do the same to allow the presidential vote to go to the Congress to be decided, and put it on them, whether they want a demagogue like Donald Trump or a more reasonable Republican, who I often disagree with, like Mitt Romney,” said Chiafalo. “So, I’m really not sure what I’m going to do, but I take the decision very seriously.”

There is also a petition started on Change.org calling on all the electors -- including Republican electors -- to vote for Hillary Clinton. The petition had nearly 3 million signatures Friday morning. 

Copyright 2016 KING


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