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Monday at noon, in the State Reception Room at the Legislative Building in Olympia, I may have the opportunity to cast ballots for President and Vice President.

I'm sure that very few of you saw my diary On November 6, Washingtonians might be voting for *me*, written on May 23, in which I described the 7th Congressional District caucus where my fellow Democrats elected me as the CD's Alternate Elector. I'm all but certain the WA-07 Elector will be in attendance, so I probably won't be one of the 538 Americans who actually elect the President. But I'll definitely be in Olympia to meet Secretary of State Sam Reed and Governor Chris Gregoire, and to participate as much as I can.

But that's not my subject in this diary (though I'll have more to tell you -- and hopefully show you -- after the Electoral College meets). Here, I want to talk about an interesting(?) letter I received the other day.

It arrived in a light purple envelope, postmarked from Harrisburg PA. From the color and size of the envelope, I assumed it was a Christmas card. I don't know anyone from Harrisburg, but several of my friends are Pennsylvanians, so I didn't find it particularly odd.

Even as I opened the envelope, I didn't think it was anything unusual. I could see a folded piece of bond paper with typing on it, which appeared to be (I thought) a standard-issue Christmas letter. That thought evaporated immediately upon reading the first line:

ATTN:  Electoral College Representative
I do have to say that the tone of the two-page letter was respectful, even while listing several of the right wing's favorite conspiracy theories about the "stolen" election. As well as a couple I hadn't heard before.
[Quoting the letter:]
  • A case where Republican ballots were thrown into a river where not all could be recovered with an unknown loss of votes (estimated hundreds+)
  • Undefined loss of military votes because of miscommunication of deadlines and counting of ballots (military servicemen/women surveyed said they would vote Romney at least 2-1), the very citizens fighting to protect us and our freedom to vote
While the letter had been mailed in central Pennsylvania, the writer's phone number had a 714 area code (Orange County CA). She also provided an email address (@rocketmail.com).

The "ask" didn't come until halfway through the second page. The writer implored me to be what she called a "faithless vote" (in other words, be a faithless Elector), and cast my Electoral College vote for Romney. Interestingly, there was no such request in the Vice Presidential race. Romney-Biden, anyone?

Now, of course, if I do have the opportunity to cast a vote as an Elector, I won't take the advice of my correspondent. And it won't be because the state of Washington would fine me up to $1000 for doing so.

Originally posted to Peace Tree Farm on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 07:12 PM PST.

Also republished by PacNW Kossacks.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (42+ / 0-)

    Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration. -- K.Marx A.Lincoln

    by N in Seattle on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 07:12:35 PM PST

  •  Turn the letter in. (20+ / 0-)

    Let the FBI handle it.

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 07:14:11 PM PST

    •  naaah, there was no threat (8+ / 0-)

      The writer may have been a teahadist, but a very polite and fairly erudite one. And I'm sure she didn't even know about RCW 29A.56.340, which defines the civil penalty for faithless Electors in Washington.

      The RCW also mandates that we be paid -- $5.00 -- and that we be compensated for mileage -- at 10 cents/mile.

      Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration. -- K.Marx A.Lincoln

      by N in Seattle on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 07:21:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I disagree: the threat is real; the writer incites (10+ / 0-)

        lawbreaking in the most treasonous possible way.

        This is indeed a matter for the Department of Justice.

        LBJ, Lady Bird, Anne Richards, Barbara Jordan, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Drew Brees, Molly Ivins --Texas is no Bush league! -7.50,-5.59

        by BlackSheep1 on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 07:24:55 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  it happens all the time (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bwren, ms badger, Larsstephens, Loge

          As described by FairVote.org, there have been 157 faithless Electors in US history. Oh, 71 of them were actually Electors who died between Election Day and the meeting of the Electoral College, but that still leaves 86 who showed up but didn't vote for the person who won the election in their state.

          To say nothing of the fact that the National Popular Vote movement, which I support, would necessitate having some entire state delegations of Electors vote for someone other than the person who won in their state.

          Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration. -- K.Marx A.Lincoln

          by N in Seattle on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 07:43:02 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Call the FBI. Give them the letter. (8+ / 0-)

            It IS a big deal, and it is a threat.

            Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

            by JeffW on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 07:49:55 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  it's a state matter (3+ / 0-)

              The only law I'm being asked to consider violating is a Washington law. And it's a civil statute, not a criminal one. It's of no concern to the FBI.

              And it can't conceivably be treason ... one cannot commit treason against the state of Washington.

              There is no federal statute that relates in any way whatsoever to the actions of Electors as they carry out their role in the Electoral College. In 21 states, there aren't any state laws about it either. In 27 states and DC, faithless Electors are liable for civil fines ... if the state chooses to attempt to impose them (which it almost never does). And in MI and MN, Electors who don't vote as pledged simply have their votes declared invalid by the state.

              IOW, there's no threat, no intimidation, no violation of any law.

              Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration. -- K.Marx A.Lincoln

              by N in Seattle on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 08:15:20 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  NO. JeffW is correct. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                FG, Creosote

                If you're so sure no law of any kind is violated, as you detail here, why did you post the diary?

                If what you say is true, you should indeed report it to the FBI and let THEM determine whether there is a violation of federal law.

                Otherwise, delete the diary.

                •  why did I post??? (5+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  WineRev, Loge, golem, Sailorben, Garrett

                  Who are you to demand that I justify my decision to write a diary? Why would I have to justify it to anyone whatsoever?

                  But, silly me, I will anyway:

                  • I'd long planned to preview my upcoming solemn duty as part of the Electoral College.
                  • I thought the tale of the oddball letter would be a good "hook".
                  • I found the very idea that someone believed they could convince a Democrat committed enough to be an Elector to do something as ridiculous as vote for Romney highly amusing, in a sardonic sense.

                  I have never, not even for a microsecond, perceived the slightest whisper of a threat in this letter.

                  It will be interesting to hear what my fellow Electors/Alternates have to say about the letter (I'm assuming that all 332 Democratic Electors and their Alternates got the same letter, but maybe I'm wrong).

                  Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration. -- K.Marx A.Lincoln

                  by N in Seattle on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 11:24:58 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Thus, all you are doing is promoting your (0+ / 0-)

                    status as an elector, not actually writing about any real issue. You should delete the diary. It reflects poorly on you, and does not advance any interests of this site or the Democratic Party.

                    Sorry to sound harsh.  It's not personal.  I just think you're making a big error in judgment here.

        •  It's not in any way treasonous... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          N in Seattle

          ...to be a faithless elector.

          Wrong, ridiculous, idiotic... but completely within the bounds of the Constitution.

          "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

          by JamesGG on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 06:58:18 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  It doesn't matter if it wasn't a threat (11+ / 0-)

        It's someone trying to convince you to break the law, It's someone trying to interfere with the election.
        And I'd practically guarantee that this was not one sweet little old lady in Anaheim.
        Which would make it a conspiracy. And across state lines, a couple times, makes it federal.
        Jeff is right, get it to the FBI.
        If you have any question, ask your supervisor or contact person in the election office how to handle it.
        Your position as an alternate, possibly one of 538 people in the entire country, that actually carries out the will of the people. Right now you are a Very Important Person and should not be subject to blandishments or entreaties, Much less threats or offers.

        If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

        by CwV on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 07:51:31 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Look (3+ / 0-)

          There's no Federal statute being violated, hence no Federal jurisdiction. Apparently, the State Law doesn't even address the question of soliciting someone to become a faithless elector. Like it or not, there's simply no grounds for the Feds to get involved based on the applicable law.

          Nothing human is alien to me.

          by WB Reeves on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 09:12:29 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  if they'd offered to pay me, or... (0+ / 0-)

            ...cover any fine I might incur, or if they'd said they would come after me if I didn't do what they said, that would be a potential crime on their part. Attempted bribery, extortion, stuff like that.

            But there was nothing of the sort. It was just some pleading from a disillusioned and disappointed person or group, based largely on the lies perpetrated by RW media.

            Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration. -- K.Marx A.Lincoln

            by N in Seattle on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 09:23:36 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  the fine is probably unconstitutional (0+ / 0-)

        by the way, I think Ron Paul gets at least 1.5 EV's.  

        Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

        by Loge on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 05:51:59 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Morons (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    N in Seattle, alain2112, Loge, UnionMade

    ☝☺

    I think pointing and laughing is entirely adequate. I have shared this with friends.

    I have only ever had one prayer, a short one. It is this. Oh, Lord, please make our enemies thoroughly ridiculous. God granted it.
    Voltaire

    America—We built that!

    by Mokurai on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 10:10:17 PM PST

  •  Surely you (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Creosote

    would not have been the sole elector or potential elector to be approached, if you got such a letter?

    If the letter writer is inciting vioaltion of state law, perhaps state authorities could be advised? I'm not sure they could or would act, but it might be a courtesy to let someone know.

  •  I would report it (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tom Anderson

    because it could alert authorities to a whole network of deceptive attempts to influence voting, and because of the Republican elements. What may appear to be simple and legal to you may have other aspects; it could be a puzzle piece in a larger scenario.

    That is, I would have made a copy and then asked my local representative where to send the original. Just because of the deceptive Pennsylvania / Orange County stuff, and the bizarre sense of 'win a lottery' it's powered with.

  •  How did they get the address for an electoral rep? (0+ / 0-)

    Especially since it sounds like you were just an alternate initially, it seems strange and a little troubling that they were able to so easily find out exactly where to contact you and then try to influence your vote. What will they be doing next? Following people around and threatening them? I think it is worthwhile to turn this over to the FBI and just have them see if anything improper occurred.

    Just doing my part to piss off right wing nuts, one smart ass comment at a time.

    by tekno2600 on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 10:40:18 AM PST

    •  public information (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tekno2600

      The Washington Secretary of State's website has a page about the Electoral College. On that page are links to PDFs listing the Electors (Democratic, natch) and the not-Electors (Republicans).

      Both lists give full names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses of the party's prospective Electors. The Democrats go farther, including the Alternates along with the Electors and displaying gender, age, and even birthdate.

      IOW, anybody with access to the interwebs can see a pile of information about me and my 23 Democratic colleagues.

      I bet you could search every state's website and eventually see at least the names of Electors. For instance, I happened to be looking at the MA election results the other day, and that report lists both slates of potential Electors (but no addresses or other identifiers). BTW, if Romney had won in Massachusetts, his Electors would have included Ann and Tagg, as well as Mitt's aides Eric "Etch-A-Sketch" Fehrnstrom and Beth Myers, Tagg's pal Spencer Zwick, and other such characters.

      Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration. -- K.Marx A.Lincoln

      by N in Seattle on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 04:04:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I suspected some of this was public information, (0+ / 0-)

        though, I think the part about the address, phone number, etc. should be reconsidered in the future. I don't think that everybody needs to know all that information and it may, in fact, open up the person up to invasion of privacy. But, if that's the case now, I guess this letter was just aggressive lobbying rather than anything too nefarious.

        Just doing my part to piss off right wing nuts, one smart ass comment at a time.

        by tekno2600 on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 04:37:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Orly and Berg are working together. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    N in Seattle

    Orly Taitz, from Orange County California, and Phil Berg, from Pennsylvania, announced that they were working on a project together.

    This appears to be the product from that collaboration.

    I don't see anything illegal about this letter. I see it as a political communication addressed to an Elector in his role as a representative of the electorate.

    It's funny as hell, but not illegal.

    You should post images or the text of the letter.

    I, for one, have no problem being led by a 3500 year old Pharaoh who was trained by space aliens on a distant star.

    by Tomtech on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 12:15:02 PM PST

    •  I thought about posting the letter (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tomtech

      Decided not to do so for the diary. But perhaps that was a bad choice, so I'm putting links to the two pages in this comment. I might update the diary itself with those links, though it's probably too late for that.

      Dunno about the Taitz/Berg thing. First of all, an attempt to influence Electors implicitly acknowledges that Obama is a citizen and is eligible to be elected President. Second, Berg is based in Lafayette Hill PA, a suburb of Philadelphia. Of course, as an attorney, he might have business in the capital of the Commonwealth.

      Letter (with identifiers redacted):

      front
      back

      Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration. -- K.Marx A.Lincoln

      by N in Seattle on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 03:23:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Actually, I think it might be (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tomtech

      If I remember correctly, it is actually against federal law to communicate across state lines in order to change an elector's vote. Something about the manner of choosing electors being reserved to the state legislature. It actually constitutes a form of criminal conspiracy.

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