Electors in Denver vote on national election: a breakdown

Colorado electors vote: a breakdown
Posted at 10:26 AM, Dec 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-19 15:57:01-05

DENVER -- Nine Colorado electors met at the state Capitol building on Monday to officially cast their votes for the next president of the United States of America. 

It's a momentous occasion, but wasn't earth shattering. Why? All of Colorado's electors are bound to vote for Hillary Clinton. 

Indeed, even as electors cast their votes, one elector attempted to vote for a candidate other than Hillary Clinton. That elector was then removed, as per an oath the electors were required to take by the Secretary of State of Colorado. 

The oath, although earlier challenged in a district court, was upheld in a second hearing just before the oath's signing. 

Michael Baca voted for a candidate other than Hillary Clinton, and was the elector who officials removed. 

A new elector was then sworn in, who cast her vote for Clinton and Kaine. 

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Colorado's duty

After national campaigns for electors to not vote for Donald Trump, instead pointing to a moderate selection, Colorado's electors have tried to be among the leaders of the "Hamilton electors" movement to deny Trump the presidency.

Instead, Colorado's electors -- at least two of them -- attempted to free themselves of state legal repercussions should they choose someone in lieu of Hillary Clinton, who won the national popular vote by nearly 3 million and Colorado's popular vote.

But Colorado's electors are bound to the Democratic party and would never have been required to vote for Trump in the first place. Had Trump won Colorado's popular vote, nine Republican electors would be sworn in and voting Monday.

Several courts over the past week have determined Colorado's Democratic electors will be removed and replaced should they fail to take the oath of office or fail to vote for Clinton as they are bound to.

The "Hamilton electors" movement seeks to turn more than three-dozen electors set to vote for Trump and have them vote for someone else -- creating a situation where neither major candidate has the 270 electoral votes necessary to be president. 

How Donald Trump could lose the electoral vote

What is possible -- but still unlikely -- is that 37 of Donald Trump's 306 electors that he won through state victories in the election will defect, leaving the candidate only 269 votes. 

If they defect, and no one candidate has 270 electoral votes, the House of Representatives will have a vote to determine the next president. That body is Republican-led. Should that happen, the Senate would determine the vice president.

How the vote will happen on Monday

Electors are meeting in their respective time zones at 11:30 a.m., when they need to be in place. As electors sit down to vote at noon, they will cast their votes and have six sets of those votes certified. 

An emergency motion filed Monday morning by the electors' attorneys seeks to block changes made to the electors' oath of office made by the Colorado Secretary of State's Office last week.

All six sets of votes have specific destinations and purposes. One set will head straight for the desk of the vice president for the official count of the votes in January. Two sets will be sent to the Secretary of State's Office in Colorado. Two sets will be sent to the National Archivist. The final set is sent to the presiding judge in the district where the electors meet. 

The electors are finished with their duties after certifying their votes on Monday. At that point, the votes must make it back to the vice president and the archivist by Dec. 28, which is nine days later. The votes will be sent in from all 50 states in a host of different time zones. 

What happens moving ahead

On Jan. 6, Congress meets in a joint session to count the electoral votes. The vice president will preside over the count. If one candidate racks up 270 votes, they will be inaugurated on Jan. 20.

If no candidate racks up the needed votes, the House of Representatives will have a vote to determine the next president. 


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