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

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Kim Skarda points at her home on a map on Thursday, June 20, 2024 in Concrete, Washington. A community called Sauk River Estates has a very steep slope above it. There is a DNR-approved timber sale that boarders the estate properties, yet they were not consulted about the sale before approval. The community has already appealed the sale and has hired their own geologist to conduct a slope stability report at the site. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Beneath steep slope, Concrete neighbors fear landslides from logging above

Nielsen Brothers plans to cut 54 acres of timber directly behind the community of 83 homes. Locals said they were never consulted.

Law enforcement respond to a person hit by a train near the Port of Everett Mount Baker Terminal on Thursday, June 27, 2024 in Mukilteo, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
2 killed in waterfront train crashes were near Mukilteo ‘quiet zone’

In June, two people were hit by trains on separate days near Mukilteo Boulevard. “These situations are incredibly tragic,” Everett’s mayor said.

Rob Plotnikoff takes a measurement as a part of the county's State of Our Waters survey at Tambark Creek in Bothell, Washington on Monday, July 1, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Snohomish County stream team bushwhacks a path to healthier waterways

This summer, the crew of three will survey 40 sites for the State of Our Waters program. It’s science in locals’ backyards.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Mountlake Terrace in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
4th suspect arrested after Mountlake Terrace home robbery

Police arrested Taievion Rogers, 19, on Tuesday. Prosecutors charged his three alleged accomplices in April.

A 10 acre parcel off of Highway 99, between 240th and 242nd Street Southwest that the city of Edmonds is currently in the process of acquiring on Monday, July 10, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Edmonds ditches $37M Landmark public park project off Highway 99

The previous mayor envisioned parks and more in south Edmonds, in a historically neglected area. The new administration is battling budget woes.

Edmonds school official sworn in as Mount Vernon supe

Victor Vergara took his oath of office last week. He was assistant superintendent of equity and student success in Edmonds.

Boeing 787's in various stages of assembly at Boeing's Everett Plant on April 29, 2017 in Everett. (The Boeing Co.)
Boeing workers signal support for strike if contract talks fail

The union is calling for a 40% raise for workers over the next three years.

A wall diagram shows the “journey of the ballot” at the new Elections Center on Tuesday, July 9, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Snohomish County primary election ballots shipped to registered voters

This year’s primary election will feature races in every corner of the county. Turn in a ballot by Aug. 6 to ensure your vote is counted.

A skeletonized cranium found at Scriber Lake Park in Lynnwood, WA on March 24, 2024. The remains are likely a black male estimated to be over 25 years of age and unknown height and weight. He is estimated to have been deceased at least one year. (Provided by Snohomish County Medical Examiner's Office)
Authorities seek help identifying partial skull found in Lynnwood park

A homeless man discovered the skull at Scriber Lake Park. Forensic scientists hope to connect the remains to a missing person.

Guests enjoy the sunset and wind Friday afternoon at Cama Beach Historical State Park on Camano Island on October 25, 2019. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
State commission weighs permanent closure of Cama Beach cabins

The Washington State Parks Commission said the park’s native history, sea level rise and septic issues will figure in its decision.

Animal Chaplain Shel Graves has her dog Lily pose for a photo in her home office on Tuesday, July 9, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Is your dog or cat grieving? There’s an animal chaplain for that

Chaplains offer spiritual care for beings of all species: “Absolutely, animals do feel grief and loss.”

The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning for the Cascade Range and Olympic Mountains on Wednesday. (Provided by the National Weather Service)
Red flag warning issued for eastern Snohomish County through Wednesday

The National Weather Service says critical fire conditions are either imminent or occurring now.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.