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National Issues

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.
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