FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, July 6, 2020
PIERRE, S.D. – In a unanimous decision today the United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) ruled that presidential electors can only cast their ballot for the candidate who won the popular vote in their state. South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg helped assemble a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general from 44 states and the District of Columbia in filing an amicus curiae brief to join the cases of Colorado v Baca and Chiafalo v Washington.
The Baca case began in 2016 when a Democratic elector in Colorado attempted to cast his ballot for John Kasich, despite the fact that Hillary Clinton had won the popular vote in that state. Baca was removed by state officials and replaced with an alternate elector who supported the popular vote. He then sued the state of Colorado. The question this case brought to SCOTUS was whether the states have the right to remove electors who do not follow the will of the state’s voters in a presidential election.
Chiafalo arose in Washington state when three presidential electors were fined $1,000 each under state law after they cast their electoral ballots for Colin Powell for president instead of Clinton. The question this case brought to SCOTUS was whether the states have the right to sanction electors who do not follow the will of the state’s voters in a presidential election.
“I am pleased that the U.S. Supreme Court today emphasized the important role of the states in the election of the President of the United States,” said Ravnsborg. “This is a vital ruling, protecting the voice of the people of South Dakota, guaranteeing the state’s right to regulate our elections, and to ensure our voices are heard in the selection of the President of the United States.”
The Office of the Attorney General is the chief legal office for the State of South Dakota and provides legal advice to agencies, boards, and commissions of the State as well as representing the State in state and federal court. The Office of Attorney General also handles prosecutions, felony criminal appeals, civil matters, consumer protection issues, and issues formal opinions interpreting statutes for agencies of the state. Visit www.atg.sd.gov to learn more.
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CONTACT: Tim Bormann, Chief of Staff, (605) 773-3215