A Democratic elector in Washington state said Friday he won't vote for Hillary Clinton even if she wins the popular vote in his state on Election Day, adding a degree of suspense when the Electoral College affirms the election results next month.
Robert Satiacum, a member of the Puyallup Tribe of Indians, supported Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary. He said he believes Clinton is a “criminal” who doesn’t care enough about American Indians and “she’s done nothing but flip back and forth.”
He said he has wrestled with what to do, but feels that neither Clinton nor Republican Donald Trump can lead the country.
“She will not get my vote, period,” he said in a phone interview with The Associated Press.
Satiacum said he believes Sanders did a better job of reaching out to Native Americans. “She doesn’t care about my land or my air or my fire or my water,” he said of Clinton.
Americans vote for the president on Election Day, but they're really casting votes for each state's electors, who will decide the next president on Dec. 19.
In all but two states, the winner of the state’s popular vote gets all of the state's electors. There’s nothing in the Constitution that says the electors are required to vote for a particular candidate, but some states have penalties for so-called “faithless electors.” Satiacum faces a $1,000 fine in Washington if he doesn't vote for Clinton, but he said he doesn't care.
“This is a time we all need to stand up and speak out,” he said.
Satiacum is one of 12 Democratic electors in Washington, which Clinton is expected to win. He said he has gotten a lot of criticism since he told media outlets last month that he might not vote for Clinton. But he said he has also heard from electors in other states who thanked him for speaking out. He said he hopes some of those electors follow his lead.
According to the National Archives, 99 percent of electors through U.S. history have voted for their party’s candidate, and none of the dissenters has ever changed the result of an election.