A Democratic elector in Washington state said Friday that he would not cast his Electoral College vote for Hillary Clinton if, as is likely, she wins the state in Tuesday’s election.
Robert Satiacum, a member of the Puyallup Tribe, supported Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary, which the Vermont senator won by approximately a 3-to-1 margin. 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 (Maine and Nebraska), 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.
“I hope it comes down to a swing vote and it’s me,” he told The Seattle Times. “Good. She ain’t getting it. Maybe it’ll wake this country up.”
Satiacum is one of 12 Democratic electors in Washington, which has 12 electoral votes and has not gone for a Republican presidential candidate since Ronald Reagan in 1984.
Satiacum 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.
At the time of of Satiacum’s initial statements, the Puyallup Tribal Council issued a statement saying that he had pledged to support the winner of the state’s popular vote Nov. 8 and “risks dishonoring himself” if he does not do so.
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.