Rou­tine day in Elec­toral Col­lege

In choos­ing pres­i­dent, mem­bers stick to tried, true Texas tra­di­tion.

Austin American-Statesman - - METRO & STATE - Ken Her­man


news, my fel­low Tex­ans. Once again, our state’s fine rep­u­ta­tion re­mains un be­smirched by any disgrace that would be­fall us by har­bor­ing a faith­less elec­tor.

We’re talk­ing here about our 38 Elec­toral Col­lege mem­bers. You know, the only Tex­ans whose votes really mat­ter when it comes to hand­ing the White House keys to some­one.

When the electors met Mon­day in the Texas House, the faith was kept, both in open­ing and clos­ing prayers of a spe­cific faith (Chris­tian­ity) and in re­flect­ing the pop­u­lar­vote out­come (Repub­li­can). Mitt Rom­ney and Paul Ryan (re­mem­ber them?) each got all 38 votes.

I al­ways en­joy the electors’ meet­ing, a live per­for­mance of the oft-de­bated way we pick pres­i­dents and vice pres­i­dents. It’s al­ways a bit weird when per­formed by electors sup­port­ing the los­ing can­di­dates.

“Your will­ing­ness to serve as an elec­tor helps makes democ­racy pos­si­ble,” Texas Sec­re­tary of State John Steen (re­mem­ber him? No, you don’t; he’s new.) said in get­ting the meet­ing go­ing Mon­day.

He also re­minded electors there’d be “light re­fresh­ments” in his of­fice af­ter­ward. Nice. Light re­fresh­ments also help make democ­racy pos­si­ble.

Af­ter some pub­lic swear­ing

(oath, not ep­i­thets) and some pri­vate vot­ing, Steen did some tal­ly­ing and an­nounced the unan­i­mous re­sults of the sep­a­rate votes for pres­i­dent and vice pres­i­dent.

With that, at long last, the 2012 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion in Texas fi­nally was over, as if there ever was any doubt about the out­come.

The Elec­toral Col­lege (a phrase that does not ap­pear in the U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion, which does re­fer to “electors”) is a fre­quent tar­get of folks (a group prob­a­bly not in­clud­ing Ge­orge W. Bush) who be­lieve pres­i­dents should be picked by na­tion­wide pop­u­lar vote.

The Na­tional Ar­chives says there have been more than 700 pro­pos­als for con­sti­tu­tional amend­ments to change the Elec­toral Col­lege sys­tem in one way or an­other. That’s more than on any other sub­ject. Go to na­tion­alpop­u­lar­vote. com to see an in­ter­est­ing, on­go­ing at­tempted in­sur­rec­tion against the Elec­toral Col­lege.

An­other his­tor­i­cal note from the ar­chives: “The 14th Amend­ment pro­vides that state of­fi­cials who have en­gaged in in­sur­rec­tion or re­bel­lion against the United States or given aid and com­fort to its en­e­mies are dis­qual­i­fied from serv­ing as electors. This pro­hi­bi­tion re­lates to the post-Civil War era.”

None of the GOP­cho­sen electors in the cham­ber Mon­day looked old enough to have par­tic­i­pated in the Civil War, and none, at that moment, were openly call­ing for in­sur­rec­tion or re­bel­lion.

And, by vot­ing unan­i­mously for Rom­ney and Ryan, all kept the faith, though Texas is among 24 states that do not legally re­quire electors to vote for the pres­i­den­tial can­di­date that pre­vailed in the pop­u­lar vote.

Electors who vote for some­body other than the pop­u­lar-vote win­ner are known as faith­less electors, the rarest of the Elec­toral Col­lege mem­bers.

Stats show that in the his­tory of the United States, more than 99 per­cent of electors have

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