By Manuel Valdes
The Associated Press
OLYMPIA — A Democratic presidential elector from Washington state said Wednesday she is joining a national effort to try to deny Republican Donald Trump the presidency at the Electoral College.
Levi Guerra, a 19-year-old from the small town of Warden in central Washington, announced at the state Capitol that she is now part of the so-called Hamilton Electors, a group that includes fellow Washington elector P. Bret Chiafalo, who joined Guerra at the Capitol.
The group seeks to block Trump by encouraging both Democratic and Republican electors in every state to unite behind a yet-to-be determined consensus Republican candidate.
Guerra says she promised her community that she’d do anything to ensure Trump does not become president and worries what kind of example Trump would set for her generation.
“To keep this promise, I believe I must cast my vote to an alternative Republican,” she said. “I’m only 19 and this is my first time being involved in politics, but I’m hoping that my willingness to put my country before my party will show that my generation cares about America.”
Electors meet in their states Dec. 19.
Chiafalo said his group is in talks with other electors around the country.
Among the names of Republicans his group would back are former Secretary of State Colin Powell, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
Clinton won Washington state, which has 12 electoral votes. Trump won 306 electoral votes to Democrat Hillary Clinton’s 232. A candidate needs 270 electoral votes to win.
Electors are chosen by party officials and are typically the party’s most loyal members. Presidential electors are not required to vote for a particular candidate under the Constitution.
Even so, the National Archives says more than 99 percent of electors have voted as pledged throughout the nation’s history.
Some states have penalties for so-called “faithless electors.” In Washington state, that penalty is a $1,000 fine.