Breaking News–An amendment to the Texas Election Code that will allocate electoral votes proportionally has passed the Legislative Committee with unanimous support. The bill, authored by William Bolduc of the Austin Delegation, is to be debated in the full Legislative Chamber this afternoon. Bolduc is hopeful that, if signed into law, his bill will increase Texan voter representation.
Texas has historically utilized plurality voting, also known as a “winner-takes-all” system, to allocate electoral votes. This means that when Texans vote in elections, the candidate that wins the popular vote will receive all of the state’s electoral votes. According to Bolduc, this approach is unfair because it effectively nullifies the votes cast for minority candidates. So, Bolduc has looked to states like Nebraska and Maine, which split their electoral votes according to the percentage of the popular vote that each candidate receives. Boldic believes that it is vital that a similar approach is implemented in Texas.
“The way [the electoral college] is administered in Texas goes against the core principles of a fair and united democracy,” Bolduc said. “A system where a majority of a single vote can decide who receives all of our electors, where a candidate can win every electoral vote in Texas without even getting fifty percent of the votes, is not only undemocratic, it is the single greatest form of voter suppression in our time.”
Bolduc’s argument resonated with the other members of his committee, who spoke out in favor of the bill during the pro-con debate period. According to Bolduc, there was not a single dissenter who thought that his proposition should not pass. “They all agreed that we must move away from the winner-takes-all system to a fair, proportional distribution, in which everyone’s vote will count,” Boldoc said. “It’s exciting to know that…we are now one step closer to having electors distributed based on the percentage of the popular vote that each candidate receives.” However, Bolduc acknowledges that it will be challenging to pass his bill in the full chamber.
“I do expect there to be more opposition in the full chamber because there’s a wider variety of opinions and delegations represented,” Bolduc said. “But, I also think this is a common sense bill that a lot of people can get behind.”
Bolduc credits the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections for highlighting faults within the current electoral system. “Texas is a ‘red state’ but that doesn’t mean that 100% of our voters are Republican. The winner-takes-all approach doesn’t reflect voter diversity in this state,” Bolduc said. “No matter what side of the aisle people are on, I think you can agree that a proportional allocation of votes will more fairly reflect the interests of the people.”
If his bill passes, Bolduc is confident that it will make each Texan feel more represented, and thus, more engaged in elections. “When states consistently swing one way, I think a lot of people assume they might as well not vote. If they’re in the minority, it’s like their vote doesn’t even matter,” Bolduc said. “That’s a very dangerous feeling that can undermine our whole democracy, so I think that it could be very helpful to have people know that even if their candidate doesn’t win, they still made some difference by voting.” Ultimately, Bolduc believes that his amendment will have the power to increase voter turnout and confidence in elections to come.
Story by Ava Motes