AUSTIN (KXAN) — As protesters sang and chanted outside of the Texas Capitol on Monday in a last-ditch effort to get Texas electors to vote for someone else other than President-elect Donald Trump, the electors clinched the Electoral College for Trump.
Texas has 38 electoral votes out of the 538 select voters who can cast their ballots for the president of the United States. In November’s election, Trump won 306 electoral votes, including all 38 from Texas.
The vote from the Texas electors gave Trump the needed votes to formally win the presidency, a moment marked with cheers and applause in the House Chamber.
While the vote was scheduled for 2 p.m., it wasn’t until 4:30 p.m. until the final vote was tallied. During roll call, Secretary of State Carlos Cascos determined there were four open seats: one resignation and three absences (two were ineligible because they have federal jobs). After picking four new electors, the Texas electors cast 36 votes for Donald Trump, one for Ron Paul and one for John Kasich.
The demonstrations started on Sunday, the day before the official vote. Dozens of demonstrators were out Sunday braving the cold, pushing to vote against Trump. While they do not support him, organizers say they are not trying to tell electors who to vote for instead.
“We’re trying to support them and tell them that they have our support as the people of Texas to vote their conscience, to vote the way that they feel is going to be best for America and for Texas,” Douglas Lamb said.
“If Bernie Sanders had been elected, if John Kasich had been elected, if Ted Cruz had been elected, we would not be out here. We are out here for Donald Trump because he is a unique danger,” Erin Zwiener told KXAN.
The head of the State GOP, Tom Mechler, reminds electors they signed a pledge to vote for whoever won Texas in November. Since then, Texas elector Art Sisneros said he’ll resign. Another elector, Chris Suprun, said he won’t vote for Trump.
“What these protesters are doing is they’re using fear and intimidation tactics and we want to install a feeling of confidence,” Leland Freeman said. He planned to hold a rally Monday in support of GOP Trump electors.
After an unprecedented push in recent history to get them to switch votes, he says his side is needed. “A call for Trump supporters to show your support for the delegates here in Texas,” said Freeman.
More than half of the states in the U.S. try to bind the votes of electors to the candidate their state chose but Texas is not one of them yet. A bill has already been filed in the Texas House to fine a “faithless elector” $5,000.
Lawmakers go into their session in January.