State levies $1,000 fines on 4 ‘faithless’ electors

OLYMPIA — Secretary of State Kim Wyman on Thursday levied $1,000 fines on the four Democratic electors who broke a state law by voting for someone other than their party’s presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton.

Violation notices were mailed to Peter Bret Chiafalo, who lives near Everett; Esther John, of Seattle; Levi Guerra, of Warden; and Robert Satiacum, of University Place.

Each will have 60 days to pay the fine or 21 days to file a notice of appeal, according to Brian Zylstra, spokesman for the Secretary of State’s Office.

State law requires presidential electors to sign a pledge to vote for their party’s nominees for president and vice president, if they win the popular vote in Washington. A law passed in 1977 said failure to keep the pledge can result in a $1,000 fine.

All 12 Democratic electors in Washington did sign and turn in a pledge to the Secretary of State’s Office months ago, Zylstra said.

When the Electoral College met Dec. 19, eight of the 12 electors cast their ballots for Clinton and her running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine. The other four did not.

Chiafalo, Guerra and John cast their ballots for Colin Powell, a Republican and former U.S. secretary of state, whom they considered a better alternative to Republican President-elect Donald Trump. Satiacum, of the Puyallup Tribe, cast his vote for Faith Spotted Eagle, a Native American leader in South Dakota.

Chiafalo said last week he doesn’t intend to pay the fine and will go to court to challenge the constitutionality of the law he’s accused of violating.

He is a co-founder of a group called Hamilton Electors, which campaigned to prevent Trump from winning the Electoral College. They tried unsuccessfully to convince Republican electors in other states to break their pledges and back another GOP candidate, such as Powell.

In Washington, the last time an elector went rogue was in 1976, when Republican Mike Padden of Spokane Valley voted for Ronald Reagan instead of Gerald Ford. The next year lawmakers passed the law establishing a civil penalty for so-called “faithless electors.”

This is the first time that law will be imposed.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; Twitter: @dospueblos.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Students arriving off the bus get in line to score some waffles during a free pancake and waffle breakfast at Lowell Elementary School on Friday, May 26, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
800 free pancakes at Everett’s Lowell Elementary feed the masses

The annual breakfast was started to connect the community and the school, as well as to get people to interact.

Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring speaks at the groundbreaking event for the I-5/SR 529 Interchange project on Tuesday, May 23, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
$123M project starting on Highway 529 interchange, I-5 HOV lane

A reader wondered why the highway had a lane closure despite not seeing work done. Crews were waiting on the weather.

Justin Bell was convicted earlier this month of first-degree assault for a December 2017 shooting outside a Value Village in Everett. (Caleb Hutton / Herald file)
Court: Snohomish County jurors’ opaque masks didn’t taint verdict

During the pandemic, Justin Bell, 32, went on trial for a shooting. Bell claims his right to an impartial jury was violated.

Gary Fontes uprights a tree that fell over in front of The Fontes Manor — a miniature handmade bed and breakfast — on Friday, May 12, 2023, at his home near Silver Lake in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Everett’s mini-Frank Lloyd Wright builds neighborhood of extra tiny homes

A tiny lighthouse, a spooky mansion and more: Gary Fontes’ miniature world of architectural wonders is one-twelfth the size of real life.

Will Steffener
Inslee appoints Steffener as Superior Court judge

Attorney Will Steffener will replace Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Janice Ellis, who is retiring in June.

News logo for use with stories about Mill Creek in Snohomish County, WA.
Police: Mill Creek man fatally stabbed wife amid financial woes

After quitting his job at Amazon, the man amassed about $50,000 in debt, triggering a discussion about finances, he told police.

Outside of the current Evergreen Recovery Centers' housing to treat opioid-dependent moms with their kids on Thursday, May 25, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
$8M in behavioral health grants to benefit children, youth, families

Snohomish County awarded one-time federal funding to five projects that will reach at least 440 new people each year.

Cooper Cummings from the United States celebrates after winning a men's downhill during the Cheese Rolling contest at Cooper's Hill in Brockworth, Gloucestershire, Monday May 29, 2023. The Cooper's Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake is an annual event where participants race down the 200-yard (180 m) long hill chasing a wheel of double gloucester cheese. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Arlington High School grad is the big cheese after winning UK race

Cooper Cummings, who grew up in Lake Stevens, defeated a world record-holder in Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling and Wake.

Marysville firefighters respond to a 12-year-old boy who fell down a well Tuesday May 30, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Photo provided by Marysville Fire District)
Marysville firefighters save boy who fell 20 feet into well

The 12-year-old child held himself up by grabbing on to a plastic pipe while firefighters worked to save him.

Most Read