Federal lawsuits filed today in San Antonio and in three other cities nationwide seek to force major changes in the Electoral College, claiming that the current method of counting votes in a Presidential election 'violates the United States Constitution, distorts Presidential campaigns, facilitates targeted outside interference in our elections, discriminates against racial and other minority voters, and insures that a substantial number of citizen voters are disenfranchised,' News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
Currently, in 48 of the fifty states, the candidate that wins the most popular votes receives 100% of that state's electoral votes. The lawsuits, which are coordinated by prominent D.C. Attorney David Boies, were filed in Texas and South Carolina, two traditionally Republican dominated states, and in California and Massachusetts, two states which traditionally vote Democratic in Presidential elections.
Luis Vera, the General Counsel of the National League of United Latin American Citizens, who filed the lawsuit in San Antonio, says the goal is that at least one of the lawsuits will make it to the U.S. Supreme Court, which will order the states to change the current method of allocating 100% of their electoral votes to the candidate who won the majority of votes in their states, and instead have electors vote for the presidential candidates on the basis of the percentage of the popular vote they received in that state.
"How does a Presidential candidate win an election in the popular vote by right around three million votes, but get totally slaughtered in the electoral college vote," Vera asked. "That's what happened in the Trump Hillary race, but it has happened the opposite way over the years too."
Vera says the current 'Winner Take All' system that all but two states currently use to allocate electoral votes to candidates illegally discriminates against minority voters, and violates the 'one person one vote' promise which is implicit in a democracy.
"In Texas, if I decide to vote for the Democratic candidate in Texas, I vote for the Democrat, and then my vote is thrown away, because it means nothing."
The San Antonio lawsuit points out that Barack Obama received 41% of the Texas popular vote in the 2012 Presidential election, including the vast majority of African American votes, but received 0% of the Texas electoral vote due to the current Electoral College system. Vera says this is a 'clear violation' of the Voting Rights Act guarantees to protect the strength of minority voters.
Vera says while the Constitution establishes the Electoral College, it leaves it to the states to determine how their electors are distributed, so this method of changing that system can be done without a Constitutional Amendment.
The lawsuit requests that the "courts require states to propose and then implement a method of electors that treats each Texas citizens vote for President in an equal manner."
The lawsuit says distributing electors by Congressional district, as two states, Maine and Nebraska, currently do, is not a satisfactory solution.
"If you are a Republican and you live in California, forget it," he said. "All we are asking is that you make it fair. That's what we have always talked about, and now it's time to do it."