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He chooses the next president
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By David Taub, Senior Reporter
Published 7 years ago on
December 16, 2016

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Meet Steven Diebert. He will be an alumnus of one of the most exclusive college classes in the nation.

He’s not an elected office holder. He is not a big time player on the local nor national political scene. He is just a congenial probate referee. He will also directly decide the next president of the United State of America.

On Monday afternoon, Diebert and California’s 55 electors will meet in person at the state capitol in Sacramento to cast their votes. By law, they will all choose Hillary Clinton, who easily won the Golden State.

He says this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. “I am getting a little older and I thought this is one more way to make my place in history. If I were to vote for Trump, I would make a bigger place” Diebert joked.

Technically, it is against the law for a California Electoral College elector to vote against the state’s winner, although no one has ever been prosecuted for being a “faithless elector.” Diebert is one of the 538 electors nationwide in the Electoral College, the Constitutional function that actual decides who the leader of the free world will be. The system has been in the news since Election Day, when Donald Trump secured a majority of the Electoral College, even though he did not win the popular vote.

“They don’t tell you a lot,” Diebert said in a GV Wire interview. “(The California Democratic Party) are going to give us some instructions, and tell us to go into the Assembly chamber and vote.”

As a probate referee, Diebert does not wear black and white stripes. Rather, he evaluates property values for the probate court (the court that helps decipher wills). He was selected to go up to Sacramento by Congressman Jim Costa, Diebert’s longtime friend.

Watch above for a chat with Diebert. We also hear his thoughts on faithless electors and his hopes for President-elect Trump.

An EC refresher

As previously written on GV Wire:

As defined in the 12th amendment of the Constitution, the Electoral College actually selects the next leader of the free world. The exercise (on Election Day) is to chose who those electors will vote for.

Each state plus Washington D.C. shares 538 electors. The electors are disbursed by the number of U.S. Senators and members of the House of Representatives each state (or in D.C.’s case 3) has. Thus, California, with two U.S. Senators and 53 congressional seats, has 55 total electors.

The electors themselves are chosen by the political party of the candidate who won the state’s vote. The Democratic Party has a list of its 55 electors, one for each congressional district and two for each of the U.S. Senators. By law (3 USC chapter 1, section 7), the electors meet in their respective states on “the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December” this case being December 19. California Election Code 6904 further says the meeting takes place 2 p.m. at the State Capitol.

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David Taub,
Senior Reporter
Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email

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