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Texas casts 36 of 38 electoral votes to Trump, making him president

Update 4:30 p.m.: Texas members of the Electoral College on Monday afternoon cast the votes that put Donald Trump over the 270 needed to become president, officially completing his unlikely rise from real estate developer and reality TV star to the next commander-in-chief.

Gathered in the state House chambers, the Texas electors cast 36 votes for Trump, one for former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul and one for Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

The Electoral College, typically a footnote in the process of choosing a president, received unusual attention this year as opponents of Trump on both sides of the aisle grappled with his unexpected victory.

Chris Suprun, who voted for Kasich, was the only Republican elector to announce before Monday that they will vote against Trump. It was not immediately clear which elector voted for Paul.

Another Texan, Art Sisneros of Dayton, also opposed Trump but resigned rather than vote for him or break a pledge he made at the Republican Party of Texas convention to vote for the candidate who wins the popular vote of the state.

Trump lost the national popular vote by about 2.9 million votes but won a majority of enough states to give him a 306-232 advantage in the Electoral College, if all of those states’ electors had voted unanimously for the winner of the state’s popular vote.

Twenty-nine states have laws requiring their electors to do so. The others, including Texas, do not. There is debate over whether laws that bind electors would survive legal challenges because the Constitution does not require members of the Electoral College to vote a certain way.

Texas’ 38 electors were chosen at the state GOP convention in July.

They were greeted outside the Capitol on Tuesday by several hundred demonstrators chanting, “Dump Trump,” and met with Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, before the proceedings began.

Four of the electors who were appointed at the Texas GOP convention were absent on Monday, including Sisneros. The other three discovered they were ineligible because they either have a federal job or are running for another office, said Alicia Pierce, spokeswoman for the secretary of state’s office. Their vacancies were filled on the floor by a vote of the other electors.

Earlier: Daniel Brezenoff, a California man who started a national online petition calling on Electoral College voters to choose Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump, on Monday morning submitted to the Texas secretary of state’s office the names of 265,000 signers from the Lone Star State.

Brezenoff said he started his petition, which has 4.9 million signatures, because of the “unbelievable lack of qualifications of Donald Trump and the shameless disrespect he has shown for … the American people and the Constitution.”

Members of the Electoral College meet Monday in every state. In Texas, the electors will gather in the Capitol at 2 p.m. and will be led by Secretary of State Carlos Cascos.

Brezenoff, a college professor from Long Beach, Calif., said he chose to submit the signatures in Austin on Monday morning because Texas’ 38 Electoral College votes are enough to swing the result in favor of Clinton and because the only Republican elector to publicly reject supporting Trump is Texan Chris Suprun.

Clinton won the popular vote by 2.9 million but lost the Electoral College to Trump, 306 to 232. Twenty-nine states require their electors to vote for the winner of the popular vote in that state, but the others, including Texas, do not.

There is debate over whether laws that bind electors would survive legal challenges because the Constitution does not require members of the Electoral College to vote a certain way.

Brezenoff, who ran for Congress in California as a Green Party candidate in 2007, said that in the long run he supports doing away with the Electoral College and electing presidents through the national popular vote.

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