Colorado v. Baca was argued on May 13, 2020 via telephone with live audio. It was decided on July 6, 2020.

This case asks two questions: 1) Is Colorado’s law that requires electors to vote for the candidate who won the popular vote in Colorado an unconstitutional violation of the 12th Amendment? 2) Does a presidential elector have a constitutionally protected right to exercise discretion, which would give them standing to sue the state, if they are prevented by state law from casting their electoral vote of choice?

Polly Baca, Robert Nemanich, and Micheal Baca (no relation to Polly Baca) were three of Colorado’s nine electors for the 2016 election. Colorado has a “winner-takes-all” system, which required all nine electors to vote for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton because she won the popular vote in Colorado.

However, the three electors were worried about the election of Republican candidate Donald Trump. They wanted to encourage other electors to join them in voting with their conscience and deny Trump the majority of electoral votes he needed to win the presidency.

Micheal Baca was the only elector who ultimately cast a vote for Kasich. While Colorado law does not have a fee or other penalty for faithless electors, the Secretary of State of Colorado declared his vote invalid and replaced him with a different elector who went on to vote for Clinton. Seeing how Micheal Baca was replaced as an elector, Polly Baca and Nemanich eventually cast votes for Clinton.

Case Summary

  •  Colorado v. Baca  (Noteyou will be prompted to create a Street Law store web account and "check out" in order to download this free case summary.) 

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