LULAC Sues Texas, 3 Other States, Over Winner-Take-All Electoral College

Apparently still smarting from Donald Trump's huge, tremendous Electoral College victory in 2016, the League of United Latin American Citizens and a high-powered legal team sued four states, including Texas, challenging the way the states give out their electoral votes in presidential elections. By handing them out to the first politician past the post, states disenfranchise voters who support minority parties — and in Texas' case, minority voters — according to the lawsuit filed Wednesday.

“Under the winner-take-all system, U.S. citizens have been denied their constitutional right to an equal vote in presidential elections. This is a clear violation of the principle of one person, one vote. We filed these cases in order to uphold the rights of every citizen,” David Boies, the lead lawyer in the cases filed in Texas, South Carolina, California and Massachusetts, said Wednesday. “All Americans deserve to have their votes count.”

The plaintiffs in the suits, which include former Republican governor of Massachusetts and libertarian Vice presidential candidate Bill Weld and California actor and Republican Paul Rodriguez, don't want to eliminate the electoral college system, according to their filing. Instead, they want electoral votes awarded proportionally according to the votes received, rewarding candidates for campaigning across the country, rather than just in states that are close in the polls, and giving third parties a chance to get on the electoral board.

“The winner-take-all system under the Electoral College is at the heart of the unhealthy duopoly that plagues our national politics. It causes candidates and campaigns to ignore all but the ‘battleground’ states. It discards millions of votes for president every four years," Weld said. "Getting rid of the winner-take-all system will help Americans enjoy a broader range of choices for president than the narrow ‘either/or’ choice with which they’ve suffered for too long."

In its Texas complaint, the League of United Latin American Citizens  argues that although the state has 38 electors and a voting-age population that is more than 40 percent black and Hispanic, an electoral vote for the candidate preferred by minorities hasn't been cast since 1976, when Jimmy Carter defeated Gerald Ford in the state.

Texas Secretary of State Rolando Pablos, a named defendant, declined to comment for this story. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, the other named defendant in the suit, did not return a request for comment.

According to the Federal Archives, more than 700 proposals have been introduced in Congress over the last 200 years to reform or replace the Electoral College without any success. The law being challenged in Texas, Section 192.005 of the state's election code, requires that the state's electors vote for the presidential and vice presidential candidates receiving the most votes in the state. It's been on the books since 1986, the year after it was signed by Democratic Gov. Mark White after being passed by an overwhelmingly Democratic state Legislature. After Trump's 2016 election, two Texas electors went rogue, casting ballots for John Kasich and former Texas Rep. Ron Paul.
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Stephen Young has written about Dallas news for the Observer since 2014. He's a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
Contact: Stephen Young

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