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Texas Moves to Stop Future ‘Faithless Electors’

Texas leaders are moving quickly to prevent a repeat of Monday’s vote by two “faithless electors” who broke their vow to cast a ballot for the winner of the presidential vote in the Lone Star State. Bills have been filed in both houses for the upcoming legislative session creating penalties for electors who do not honor their pledge. Governor Greg Abbott has promised to sign the bill if it reaches his desk.

Following the votes by two faithless electors in Monday’s Electoral College vote in the Texas State Capitol, State Senator-Elect Dawn Buckingham (R-Lakeway) pre-filed Senate Bill 394 (attached below), the Texas Elector Accountability Act. The bill calls for a civil fine and a permanent prohibition against serving as an elector in any future presidential election.

“Today I filed Senate Bill 394, which will create civil penalties for faithless electors and ban them from ever again participating in the Electoral College,” Senator-Elect Buckingham wrote on her Facebook page.

“Texans are known for making sure their word is their bond: saying what they mean and meaning what they say,” the incoming state senator continued. SB 394, the ‘Texas Elector Accountability Act,’ will restore trust to the electoral college process in our great state.”

The Texas electors signed an affidavit pledging to vote for the presidential candidate receiving the most votes. The electors are chosen by congressional district caucuses at the respective state party conventions in the summer leading up to the presidential election. The electors for the party whose candidates receive the most votes in the November General Election gather at the State Capitol to cast their official ballots for the President of the Unites States and a separate ballot for the Vice President of the United States. Texas law currently provides no penalty for an elector that fails to honor their pledge.

“I applaud Senator-elect Buckingham for her quick action in filing this important legislation,” Lt. Governor Dan Patrick said in a written statement obtained by Breitbart Texas. “This bill will ensure that Texas presidential electors stand by the will of the people of this great state and any elector who violates the public’s trust will be fined and ineligible to serve in all subsequent elections.”

The Senate Bill, filed by Buckingham, is a companion bill to House Bill 543, filed earlier this month by Texas State Representative John Raney (R-Bryan). The bill, attached below, references Section 192.002 of the Texas Election Code. It adds the following language:

  • A person who violates Section 192.009(a) is ineligible to serve as an elector in all subsequent elections.
  • At the meeting of electors, an elector shall vote for the candidates for president and vice-president receiving the most votes in the general election for state and county officers.
  • An elector who violates Subsection (a) is liable to this state for a civil penalty of $5,000.

Responding to an inquiry from Breitbart Texas, Rep. Raney said, “HB 543 is about ensuring the voice of the people remains strong in our election process. I believe the voters spoke, and the Electoral College has a duty to echo that voice in the ballots they cast. This bill is not about one party over the other, it is about preserving the sanctity of American Democracy.”

The controversial actions by the two faithless electors in Texas began when the Elector for Congressional District 30, Christopher Suprin, announced he would cast his ballot for Ohio Governor John Kasich. While the actual ballot cast by electors in Texas is a secret ballot, one vote was cast for the Ohio governor during the balloting on Monday. A second faithless elector voted for former Texas Representative Ron Paul.

Governor Abbott tweeted his displeasure with the two faithless electors from Texas Monday afternoon and pledged to sign the bill if it reaches his desk. “This charade is over. A bill is already filed to make these commitments binding, Abbott tweeted. “I look forward to signing it & ending this circus.”

The following day, the Texas governor spoke out again on the issue, this time going directly after Texas now-infamous faithless elector. “@TheChrisSuprun: YOU’RE FIRED!!!,” the governor tweeted

Surpun responded “@GregAbbott_TX You mean I resigned.” However, Suprun did not do in time to honor his signed affidavit pledging to vote for the winner of the Texas election. Instead, he apparently cast a ballot for John Kasich.

A lively discussion on the issue ensued following Abbott’s post on Twitter.

The two bills will be taken up by the 85th Texas Legislature when it convenes in January.

Editor’s Note: This article was updated to add a comment from Representative Raney that was received after the publication deadline.

Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas. He is a founding member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.

HB 543 Texas Elector Accountability Act

SB394 – Texas Elector Accountability Act

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