by Emerald Staff
In a unanimous decision Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that “ … states can require presidential electors to back their states’ popular vote winner in the Electoral College,” according to the Associated Press. The ruling also allowed states to remove and punish electors for voting otherwise.
During the last presidential election cycle, Beacon Hill resident and longtime Seattle activist and musician, Esther “Little Dove” John, challenged the then-implicit requirement of Electoral College electors voting in lockstep with the popular vote in Washington.
In 2016, John and three other defendants — called faithless electors — hoped to enable an electoral tie in the presidential race, and force the then-Republican controlled House of Representatives to select Colin Powell over Donald J. Trump. If accomplished, less than 40 electoral votes could have altered the election.
According to John, “while other defendants said they voted on principle because they knew how other electors voted, I voted thinking that I might influence other electors. I stand by my decision to vote as I did because I wanted to keep the catastrophe now exhibiting in the White House from occurring.”
Interestingly enough, President Trump has — as with other issues — argued both sides of this matter. At different times, he has stated that the Electoral College is a “disaster” or “genius,” as he called it after winning the Electoral College in 2016 but losing the popular vote to Hillary Clinton who garnered more than three million more votes than Trump.
This is probably not the last we’ll hear of John’s lifelong activism, but she has an immediate situation. “I am faced with a fine of $1,000 for having voted for General Colin Powell for President and for Susan Collins for Vice President. The Supreme Court has voted that the fine is correct. Now we have to live with it,” stated John, who is retired on a fixed income and lacks the funds to pay the fine.
Editor’s Note: This article originally included a P.O. Box address where contributions toward Esther John’s court fine could be mailed, but since publication, Esther John informed us that her fees have been covered via another source and she does not need the funds after all.
Featured image: US Supreme Court by dog97209.