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Electoral College


Senator Feinstein Calls for Abolishing the Electoral College PDF  | Print |  Email
By California Senator Dianne Feinstein   
August 30, 2007
U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today announced that she will introduce a resolution to abolish the Electoral College and provide for the direct popular vote of the President. Senator Feinstein's announcement comes against the backdrop of a bid in California to qualify a ballot initiative that would skew the outcome of Presidential elections.

"This proposed California initiative is very dangerous – it is an attempt to tinker with state law in order to influence the outcome of national Presidential elections," Senator Feinstein said.

"There is no question that our system of electing a President is outmoded, but this initiative is not the way to do it. I believe that the Electoral College must be abolished, and that the President be elected through direct popular election."
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Fuzzy Math: 436 Mini-elections for President are worse Than One PDF  | Print |  Email
By FairVote.org   
August 20, 2007
Fact in the Spotlight: In 2000, Al Gore won the popular vote by a small margin, but lost the Electoral College vote.  Gore’s margin of victory in the popular vote was 0.52%, but Bush’s Electoral  College margin of victory was 0.93%. Had a congressional district allocation been in place, Bush’s electoral vote margin of victory would have been 7.06%, eight times an already distorted result.  (from FairVote’s new Wrong-Way Reforms for Allocating Electoral College Votes)

There are Republicans in California who are tired of being voiceless in presidential elections. Totally understandable.  Likewise, there are Democrats in North Carolina who think they should have a chance to be heard as well. Who can blame them?  In both states (in fact, in most states) the Electoral College renders a huge portion of their electorates utterly mute and irrelevant.  

To combat this, some Republicans in California and Democrats in North Carolina want to see their states’ electoral votes awarded by congressional district rather than by winner-take-all. That way, the Golden State’s GOP can presumably deliver a score of electoral votes to their party’s nominee, and Democrats of the Old North can give five for their team otherwise have none.  That’s fair, right?

Not quite. While allocation by congressional district gives more weight to a state’s oft-frustrated minority party in a presidential race, it can by no means be considered to yield an accurate representation of the will of the electorate at large.  Literally, the only way to achieve that is to have straight-up election of the president by national popular vote.
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California First To Pass Legislation To Establish National Popular Vote For President PDF  | Print |  Email
By Warren Stewart, VoteTrustUSA   
September 01, 2006
California has become the first state to pass legislation in a innovative initiative to render the Electoral College meaningless and establish a national popular vote for president. The bill (AB 2948) – passed by the State Assembly in May and in by the Senate in August - would enact the proposed interstate compact called the "Agreement Among the States to Elect the President by National Popular Vote" in California.

The bill was sponsored by Assembly members Tom Umberg (chair of the Assembly Elections Committee, pictured at right), Mervyn M. Dymally, John Laird, Loni Hancock, Mark Leno, and Ted W. Lieu and Senator Jack Scott. The bill now goes to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has until September 30 to act on it. Under AB 2948, introduced by Assemblyman Tom Umberg (D-Anaheim), California would grant its electoral votes to the nominee who gets the most votes nationwide — not the most votes in California. The California legislation would not take effect until enough states passed such laws to make up a majority of the Electoral College votes — a minimum of 11 states, depending on population.

Similar legislation is pending in five other states: New York, Illinois, Missouri, Colorado and Louisiana. It is expected to be introduced in Vermont and Arizona soon.

Legislation to eliminate the Electoral College is introduced into every session of Congress – there is currently one Senate bill and no less than five bills in the House – but the is no chance that such legislation would ever even be addressed in committee much less reach a vote. The state-by-state approach to eliminating the Electoral College was proposed by a group of prominent currewnt and former elected officials and articulated in their book “Every Vote Equal”.
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Arizona: Senator Aboud Looks To Reform Electoral College PDF  | Print |  Email
By Warren Stewart   
May 25, 2006
Hoping to ensure that voters elect the President and that every vote is counted equally in the next presidential election, state Sen. Paula Aboud (D-Tucson, pictured at right) plans on introducing legislation in 2007 that would reform the Electoral College system. The legislation, called The National Popular Vote Plan, is an interstate compact to elect the President by nationwide popular vote.

"The President of the United States should be the candidate who received the most votes cast by voters, period, and every vote should count the same no matter where it is cast.," said Aboud. "This reform is long overdue and Arizona should set an example for the rest of the country."

Under the proposed legislation, the popular vote totals from all 50 states and the District of Colombia would be combined to obtain a national grand total for each presidential candidate. Each state participating in the plan would then award all of its electoral votes to the candidate receiving the most votes nationwide. The National Popular Vote Plan would take effect only when the plan has been enacted by states collectively possessing a majority of the electoral votes, that is 270 of the 538 electoral votes. This guarantees that the presidential candidate receiving the most popular votes nationwide would win enough electoral votes in the Electoral College to become President.

"A candidate can win the presidency without actually winning the most votes nationwide. The last two presidential elections illustrate this point," said Aboud. For example, a shift of 60,000 votes in Ohio would have trumped President Bush’s 3,500,000-vote nationwide lead in 2004. In 2000, the second place candidate was elected when Al Gore won the popular vote by 537,179 votes, but lost the  electoral vote.

According to Aboud, an additional advantage of the plan would be to refocus the emphasis of presidential candidates. Under the current system, voters in two-thirds of the states are effectively disenfranchised because the candidates focus solely on the "battleground" states. According to National Popular Vote, presidential candidates "concentrate over two-thirds of their advertising and campaign visits in just five states, and over 92% in just 16 states."

"This measure is truly democratic. Under the proposed compact, the vote of every citizen in the United States would become equally important. In fact, a small state like Arizona would stand to gain the most from the nationwide popular election plan because Arizona would no longer be ignored. Campaigns would become truly national, instead of just concentrated within five states," said Aboud.

Currently, several states are considering legislation that would allow the states to enter into the agreement. The Colorado State Senate already gave approval of the measure on April 17, and hearings are underway in California, Illinois, Louisiana and Missouri.
Colorado Senate Passes National Popular Vote Bill PDF  | Print |  Email
By Every Vote Equal Press Release   
April 14, 2006

Legislative Hearings Announced in Missouri House 25 Legislators Now Sponsoring Bill in Illinois Legislative Hearings Scheduled by California Assembly

 

The Colorado State Senate today passed National Popular Vote's bill to enact the “Agreement Among the States to Elect the President by National Popular Vote” on second reading. The favorable vote in the Senate is the first formal vote by a state legislative house on National Popular Vote's plan for nationwide election of the President. In Colorado, the bill (SB 06-223) is sponsored by Senators Ken Gordon (D), John Evans (R), and Lew Entz (R).

 

The whole Senate's action today followed a favorable vote on April 10 in the Senate Judiciary Committee. At that time, the committee heard testimony from Colorado Common Cause Executive Director Pete Maysmith, National Popular Vote President Barry Fadem, Dr. John R. Koza (originator of the plan), and Colorado attorney Mark Grueskin. Grueskin, along with Fadem and Koza, is a co-author of a book describing the plan entitled Every Vote Equal: A State-Based Plan For Electing The President By National Popular Vote.

 

The proposed “Agreement Among the States to Elect the President by National Popular Vote” in an interstate compact. The bill in Colorado would enact the compact in Colorado. The proposed compact would not take effect in Colorado until identical legislation is enacted by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes (that is, 270 of the 538 electoral votes).

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