California Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed into law a bill that will “ensure the state’s presidential electors cast ballots for candidates who win the popular vote and do not instead switch candidates or abstain from voting,” according to a press release from state Sen. Bill Dodd (D-Napa).
Heretofore, if one of California’s electors changed their vote from the state’s popular vote winner when electors cast their votes in the electoral college, their new vote would count. Under SB 103, the elector “would be immediately replaced by a new elector who would cast a ballot for the winning candidate,” the press release states.
“While 33 states and the District of Columbia have laws requiring electors to uphold their voting pledges, many do not have any enforcement mechanism and a majority have no way to make sure electors faithfully comply,” the press release states. “Sen. Dodd introduced Senate Bill 103 amid increased national attention on the manipulation of the Electoral College system following the 2020 presidential election. Although President Joe Biden was the clear winner over President [Donald] Trump, some groups in other states suggested electors might ignore the outcome and ratify Trump instead.”
No electors changed their votes in the 2020 election; though seven did in 2016:
- A Hawaii Clinton elector voted for Bernie Sanders,
- A Texas Trump elector voted for John Kasich,
- Another Texas Trump elector voted for Ron Paul,
- Three Washington Clinton electors voted for Colin Powell, and
- A Washington Clinton elector voted for Faith Spotted Eagle.
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“This is a critical step toward protecting the legitimacy of our free election process and preventing extreme partisanship from denying the will of the voters,” Dodd, who introduced the legislation, stated. “We must ensure our chosen electors uphold their responsibilities and do not go rogue, threatening the underpinnings of our democracy. I thank the governor for signing this needed legislation.”