An Electoral College Voter Is Doing Something Drastic Instead of Voting for Trump

November 28th 2016

In August, Politico reached out to a number of potential Electoral College voters in Republican-leaning states to ask them what would happen should the election results require them to cast their vote for Donald Trump.

Most indicated they'd reluctantly vote for Trump rather than disenfranchise the voters of their state. But one elector, Texas Republican Art Sisneros, conceded that he was thinking of not voting for Trump, no matter what. In the time between that interview and the election, Sisneros apparently still hadn't made up his mind — but finally did so this weekend.

He made the decision to take the matter out of his hands, announcing in a long blog post that he could not bring himself to vote for Trump, who he does not consider "biblically qualified" to be president. However, Sisneros also signed a pledge to vote for the Republican winner of the state, a pledge he now believes to be immoral and contrary to the intention of the Constitution. As a result, Sisneros will be letting someone else make the decision, and announced he will resign from the Electoral College.

If he follows through on his blog post, he will become the second elector to resign rather than vote to give the presidency to Trump.

In August, Georgia Republican elector and businessman Baoky Vu revealed he would not vote for Trump should he win the election, writing in a statement that “Trump’s antics and asinine behavior has cemented my belief that he lacks the judgment, temperament and gravitas to lead this nation" and that the candidate was guilty of "despicable demagoguery.”

The revolt didn't last long, as Vu announced a few hours later that he would be resigning from the Electoral College.

Another Texas Republican elector, firefighter Chris Suprun, publicly voiced reservations about voting for Trump, before revealing that he would indeed fulfill his pledge to vote for the winner.

On occasion, electors have chosen to vote for a candidate other than their party's winner, these are known as "faithless electors." Their votes are usually isolated protests against the candidate, the Electoral College itself, or some other political matter.

The last faithless elector was an anonymous 2004 Minnesota Democrat, who likely voted for John Edwards for both president and vice president by mistake. No faithless elector has ever directly impacted the outcome of an election. Indeed, a 1968 elector who picked George Wallace over Richard Nixon later told a Senate hearing that he would have picked Nixon if his vote would have been a difference-maker.

Resignations from the Electoral College aren't unheard of. For instance, a Trump delegate from Ohio resigned earlier this year after making comments that racism did not exist in America "until Obama got elected."

But party electors are selected specifically because of their loyalty to the party, which makes two such resignations in one election year a historically significant rebuke of Trump. Whether or not Vu and Sisneros are a portent of chaos to come or isolated voices of protest will be revealed on December 19th when each state's Electoral College meets in their respective capitol to vote for the candidate they're pledged to.

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