Four Washington electors to be fined $1,000 for their vote

The Associated Press

OLYMPIA — The secretary of state’s office said that four electors who cast their vote for someone other than Democrat Hillary Clinton will each be fined $1,000.

David Ammons, a spokesman for Secretary of State Kim Wyman told The Associated Press on Thursday that the electors will have 60 days to pay the fine, and said the office is putting together an appeals process in case of a challenge.

During last Monday’s Electoral College vote in Olympia, Clinton got eight votes, while former Secretary of State Colin Powell got three and Native American tribal elder and activist Faith Spotted Eagle got one vote.

That action violated a 40-year-old law that says that any elector who votes for a person not nominated by the party of which he or she is an elector is subject to a civil penalty of up to $1,000, Ammons said.

The four “faithless” electors are Esther John, Peter Chiafalo, Levi Guerra and Robert Satiacum.

The last time an elector broke from the popular vote in the state was in 1976, when Mike Padden of Spokane Valley, who is currently a Republican state senator, voted for Ronald Reagan in 1976 instead of Gerald Ford, who had won the state.

The fine — which has never previously been imposed — was first established by the state Legislature following Padden’s vote in 1976.

A group called the Hamilton Electors, co-founded by Chiafalo, had sought to block the election of Donald Trump to the presidency by encouraging both Democratic and Republican electors in every state to unite behind an alternate Republican candidate.

Trump won 306 electoral votes to Clinton’s 232 in the Nov. 8 general election, although Clinton won the popular vote by a margin of nearly 2.9 million votes.

It takes 270 electoral votes to elect a president.

However, it is the electors of the Electoral College who actually cast the vote for the next president of the United States.

The 32nd Washington Electoral College convened last Monday. Vice President Biden, as president of the Senate, will preside over a joint session of Congress on Jan. 6.

The new president will be inaugurated Jan. 20.

In the Electoral College process, basically a winner-take-all by state, each state gets electors equal to the number of its U.S. senators and representatives.

That’s 12 for Washington state.

Washington is among the 11 states that has signed the National Popular Vote compact to move to a popular vote.

More states would need to join, collectively having a majority of the electoral votes, to trigger the law.