Appeals Court Upholds Texas Winner-Take-All Presidential Vote

Barbara Schwarz
February 27, 2020 - 6:35 am
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DALLAS (1080 KRLD) - A three judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans has upheld the ruling of a lower court, dismissing a lawsuit challenging the Electoral College used in Texas and 47 other states.

The court said every American citizen is afforded the opportunity to vote and the electoral college does not deprive anyone of that right. 

The League of United Latin American Citizens, or LULAC is the lead plaintiff in the case. Their president Domingo Garcia of Dallas says it dilutes votes of millions of Texans, especially minorities. 

A candidate who wins by half a percentage point is awarded all the state's delegates. "In our opinion, that's a violation of the of the one person, one vote concept.  It's also a violation of the whole idea of having presidents elected by a majority of citizens in the country."

The opinion's author, Judge Jerry Smith while the winner-take-all system "may indirectly decrease the incentive of members of perennially losing political parties to vote, it does not hinder their actual ability to vote."  Garcia claims the court's message is "That it's OK to rig the system, and it's up to each state to follow whatever they want.  We believe that is incorrect and we plan to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court."

Garcia says they suggested votes be appropriated by congressional or state senatorial districts, and whoever won that district would get that number of electoral votes.

He notes in two recent elections, Bush versus Gore and Trump versus Clinton, the candidate with the most votes lost the general election.

The opinion's author, Judge Jerry Smith, said there is "a critical distinction between a system that diminishes voters’ motivation to participate and one that burdens their ability to do so."

He adds while the winner-take-all system "may indirectly decrease the incentive of members of perennially losing political parties to vote, it does not hinder their actual ability to vote."