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Court ruling could change how the electoral college works in Washington

Former Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna weighs on on the electoral college. (AP)

During the 2016 election, four Washington state electors chose not to vote for Hillary Clinton, despite her winning the state’s popular vote. Those electors ultimately lost a legal battle in the Washington State Supreme Court, but a new court ruling in Colorado could soon bring that electoral college debate up anew.

Colorado’s 10th Circuit Court recently ruled that states can’t punish so-called “faithless electors,” who vote against the wishes of a state’s population.

“According to the 10th Circuit, if you’re an elector, you can cross out the name of the person who won the state’s popular vote, and write in another name,” former Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna told KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross.

If this eventually makes its way out of Colorado and goes before the Supreme Court, it would be applied nationwide, going against Washington state’s own rules, that penalize and replace electors who go against the popular vote.

If that happens, McKenna fears an existential threat to the entire electoral college.

“What I worry about is that fear of a stampede of faithless electors picking someone who wasn’t the candidate could result in more pressure to unwind the electoral college altogether,” he noted.

Did the Electoral College work the way it was meant to?

Thankfully, Dave Ross has a creative solution of his own.

“Does the Constitution specify the electors must be human beings?” he joked. “Could they be robots that are simply automatically programmed to cast their votes as the state’s vote dictates?”

“I’m pretty sure that you have to be a registered voter to be an elector and that would disqualify inorganic beings,” answered McKenna.

Well, it was worth a shot.

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