Governor Signs Sen. Dodd’s Faithless Electors Bill
SACRAMENTO – Responding to recent threats to the nation’s free election system by followers of former President Donald Trump, California Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed legislation from Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, that will ensure the state’s presidential electors cast ballots for candidates who win the popular vote and do not instead switch candidates or abstain from voting.
“This is a critical step toward protecting the legitimacy of our free election process and preventing extreme partisanship from denying the will of the voters,” Sen. Dodd said. “We must ensure our chosen electors uphold their responsibilities and do not go rogue, threatening the underpinnings of our democracy. I thank the governor for signing this needed legislation.”
“Free and fair elections are the very foundation of our democracy -- and the will of the voters must be respected,” U.S. Sen. Alex Padilla said. “No one should be able to subvert the outcome of our elections. As California’s former top elections official, I know the importance of clear laws and rules to protect the democratic process. That’s why I support this legislation as an important safeguard on presidential elections in California.”
“American democracy is not self-effectuating – it requires constant vigilance by our citizens and our representatives, from the corridors of our state capitols to the halls of Congress. We must shore up our democratic institutions along its fault lines, especially those that have been exposed over the past few years,” said U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Burbank. “Senate Bill 103 is vital to safeguarding the integrity of our elections and the will of California voters for generations to come. I applaud state Sen. Bill Dodd for championing this legislation, and Gov. Newsom for signing it into law.”
Sen. Dodd introduced Senate Bill 103 amid increased national attention on the manipulation of the Electoral College system following the 2020 presidential election. Although President Joe Biden was the clear winner over President Trump, some groups in other states suggested electors might ignore the outcome and ratify Trump instead.
While 33 states and the District of Columbia have laws requiring electors to uphold their voting pledges, many do not have any enforcement mechanism and a majority have no way to make sure electors faithfully comply.
Sen. Dodd’s legislation governing California’s 55 electors would void their vote if they cast ballots for a candidate who did not win the majority of support in the state. The faithless elector would be immediately replaced by a new elector who would cast a ballot for the winning candidate.
SB 103, sponsored by the bipartisan California Commission on Uniform State Laws, was signed by the governor late Monday. It has broad support at the state and national level.
Senator Bill Dodd represents California’s 3rd Senate District, which includes all or portions of Solano, Napa, Sonoma, Yolo, Sacramento, and Contra Costa counties. You can learn more about Senator Dodd at www.sen.ca.gov/dodd.