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Home | Tag Archives: Electoral College

Tag Archives: Electoral College

LULAC Sues Texas, Others Over Electoral College Vote System

SAN ANTONIO – A coalition of activists and attorneys is suing Texas and three other states over their “winner-take-all” system of allocating Electoral College votes. The goal is to overturn a practice that they claim disenfranchises any voter who does not cast his or her ballot for the winning party.

Luis Vera, general counsel for the League of United Latin American Citizens, said the winner-take-all system allows a candidate to gain the presidency despite losing the nationwide popular vote.

“So, in Texas, which we sued, Donald Trump received 52 percent of the popular vote, just a little over half. Yet he took all 38 electoral votes – 100 percent – because we’re winner-take-all,” Vera said. “How is that, anywhere, even fair?”

In 2016, Trump, a Republican, won the presidency in the Electoral College even though Democrat Hillary Clinton received 3 million more votes. Vera said the coalition also sued traditionally “blue” states California and Massachusetts, along with “red” state South Carolina.

By late last week, none of the states had issued a public response to the lawsuits.

Only two states, Maine and Nebraska, apportion electors based on the popular vote. Vera said the system violates the rights of Latino, black and other minority voters under the U.S. Voting Rights Act.

“It dilutes our voting power because it lessens the vote much more than the white Anglo,” he said; “because we’re always going to be the minority and we’re never going to be able to take the vote as we choose – that is, to elect our chosen candidate by ourselves.”

A constitutional amendment is the only way to substantially change the Electoral College, which Vera said, given the country’s political divide, might be impossible.

“This case will ultimately be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court,” he said. “And we want the Supreme Court to declare that the states need to come up with a system that more reflects the popular vote and not violate ‘one person one vote,’ right of association and the Voting Rights Act.”

Vera said whatever the outcome in the lower courts, the cases should make their way through appeals to the Supreme Court, a process that could take many years to play out.

Author: Mark Richardson – Texas News Service

Texas GOP Readies for Closely Watched Electoral College Vote

Texas Republicans are preparing for a closely watched Electoral College vote Monday in what is normally an afterthought to a presidential election.

Texas Republicans are preparing for an unusually closely watched Electoral College vote, normally an afterthought in a presidential election that has been transformed into a flashpoint by this year’s extraordinary race.

With one elector planning not to vote for Donald Trump and another resigning, the proceedings will likely draw national attention once they get underway at 2 p.m. Monday in the Texas House chamber. It’s a less-than-ideal situation for the state GOP, which is making a push to ensure there are no further defections as the state’s 38 electors are inundated with last-ditch pleas to revolt against Trump.

“Our electors signed an oath to support the nominee when it was obvious that Mr. Trump would be our nominee,” Texas GOP Chairman Tom Mechler said in a statement Wednesday, one of two that day that had sharp words for potentially anti-Trump electors. “We expect that our electors will honor their pledge. To cast a ballot against the will of the voters after signing an affidavit promising to do so, is to refuse to accept the outcome of an election.”

Heading into the weekend, the Texas GOP was not expecting any so-called “faithless electors” besides Chris Suprun, a Dallas paramedic who announced earlier this month he will not vote for Trump. He said Thursday he was still undecided on who he would instead cast his ballot for and may not announce the name until the day of the vote.

As for the Texas GOP’s saber rattling, Suprun made clear he was not fazed.

“I thought Mr. Mechler understood the idea we have a constitutional republic and representatives don’t always vote the way the public likes,” said Suprun, who so far is the only elector to commit to not voting for Trump.

Suprun’s decision is only one piece of the drama expected Monday. Another elector, Art Sisneros of Dayton, has said he will resign at the meeting, and while he is likely to be replaced by a Trump supporter, the process of getting there is wrought with uncertainty.

Anyone who is present in the chamber Monday and meets a few requirements under the election code can be nominated to replace Sisneros. The gallery will be open to the public, and electors are allowed to bring a number of guests — in other words, there could be many possibilities to replace Sisneros but as of Friday there appeared to be no consensus choice.

At a recent meeting of the state Republican Executive Committee, member Chris McDonald put forward a motion to try to get the party to coalesce around state Rep. Dennis Paul of Houston as Sisneros’ replacement. The effort was unsuccessful.

Taken together, the moves by Suprun and Sisneros have created something of an unprecedented situation heading into Monday. At least when it comes to faithless electors — electors who do not support the winner of the statewide popular vote — Texas election experts said Thursday they could not recall the state having one in modern history.

Then again, the presidential election was anything but normal. Trump’s shocking victory over Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, who still leads in the popular vote, has left many Democrats pushing for the Electoral College to deny Trump’s win, which would require 37 electors to flip against Trump and throw the election to the GOP-controlled House of Representatives.

“Generally, it’s one [faithless elector] or two max — in many elections, none — so this is unusual when there’s an organized effort to encourage electors to be faithless,” said George Edwards III, a political science professor at Texas A&M University who studies the Electoral College. 

The latest twist came Monday, when a group of electors including Suprun, requested an intelligence briefing on foreign interference in the election prior to the Electoral College vote. Clinton’s campaign quickly endorsed the idea, and the Texas Democratic Party also supports it, party spokesman Tariq Thowfeek said Thursday.

Mechler, in one of the statements Wednesday, said an intelligence briefing for electors would amount to a compromise of national security. “To openly suggest that people without a security clearance should receive high-level classified information is incomprehensible,” Mechler said.

Suprun was the only Republican elector to lend his name to the push for an intelligence briefing. He has become more and more of a lightning rod in the lead-up to the vote, especially after a WFAA report Thursday that cast doubt on his claim, made in his op-ed announcing he will not vote for Trump, that he was a first responder on 9/11. Suprun disputed part of the story Friday, saying he had worked for a different fire department than the one listed on a resume that WFAA reviewed.

Suprun has already drawn the ire of some of the state’s top Republicans, who are now pushing to make Texas the 30th state where electors must support the winner of the statewide popular vote. Shortly after Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick raised the prospect of such a requirement earlier this month, state Rep. John Raney, R-College Station, filed legislation proposing it.

“I just got to thinking about it after we were hearing about folks that may not follow their pledge,” said Raney, whose bill would fine faithless electors $5,000. “I thought, ‘You know? If you make a pledge to support somebody, you need to follow the pledge.”

The pledge being referred to by Raney and Mechler is one electors signed earlier this year at the state GOP convention promising to vote for their party’s nominee. The document is not legally binding.

Author:  PATRICK SVITEK – The Texas Tribune

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