Revising the Electoral College: Time for a Change?


I, and many others it’s safe to say, are not in the habit of seeing something happen in California and wondering if that might be a good idea for the rest of the country. I’m not going to go that far here either, but at least this California development is worthy of debate.

Governor Jerry Brown has made his state the ninth (I honestly don’t know who the other eight are other than a reference to all being "solidly blue") to strive to change the way the president of the United States is elected. The group, now representing 132 electoral votes, wants to award those electoral votes to the candidate who earns the most votes at the ballot box nationwide.

A couple of law professors have spearheaded the initiative, which apparently has been around for nearly a decade. There is some credence to the fact that a small number of swing states seemingly hold a level of power far exceeding what would be expected. You can put Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania and a few others (Iowa and New Hampshire at this time of the year) in that mix.

But maybe it’s just the biggest of the big — California, New York, Texas, etc. — complaining because they get little attention during the campaigns. And then there is the Indiana scenario, relatively forgotten based on its late primary date and consistent GOP backing until the spotlight shined brightly in both the spring and fall of 2008.

Does this measure give every state a real voice, as the supporters say? Check out the full story and let us know what you think.

3 thoughts on “Revising the Electoral College: Time for a Change?

  1. This is just another backdoor attempt by the big states to control the outcome of Presidential elections. The Founders didn’t set it up this way for a good reason: prevention of big state dominance.
    Fight this tooth and nail!

  2. Under the current system, the 11 most populous states contain 56% of the population of the United States, and a candidate could win the Presidency by winning a mere 51% of the vote in just these 11 biggest states — that is, a mere 26% of the nation’s votes.

  3. The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    The National Popular Vote bill is a state-based approach. It preserves the Electoral College and state control of elections. It changes the way electoral votes are awarded in the Electoral College. It assures that every vote is equal and that every voter will matter in every state in every presidential election, as in virtually every other election in the country.

    Under National Popular Vote, every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in every presidential election. Every vote would be included in the national count. The candidate with the most popular votes in all 50 states would get the 270+ electoral votes from the enacting states. That majority of electoral votes guarantees the candidate with the most popular votes in all 50 states wins the presidency.

    National Popular Vote would give a voice to the minority party voters in each state. Now their votes are counted only for the candidate they did not vote for. Now they don’t matter to their candidate. With National Popular Vote, elections wouldn’t be about winning states. No more distorting and divisive red and blue state maps. Every vote, everywhere would be counted for and directly assist the candidate for whom it was cast. Candidates would need to care about voters across the nation, not just undecided voters in the current handful of swing states. The political reality would be that when every vote is equal, the campaign must be run in every part of the country.

    In the 2012 election, pundits and campaign operatives already agree that, only 7-14 states and their voters will matter under the current winner-take-all laws (i.e., awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in each state) used by 48 of the 50 states. Candidates will not care about at least 72% of the voters– voters in 19 of the 22 lowest population and medium-small states, and in 16 medium and big states like CA, GA, NY, and TX. 2012 campaigning would be even more obscenely exclusive than 2008 and 2004. In 2008, candidates concentrated over 2/3rds of their campaign events and ad money in just 6 states, and 98% in just 15 states. Over half (57%) of the events were in just 4 states (OH, FL, PA, and VA). Candidates have no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or care about the voter concerns in the dozens of states where they are safely ahead or hopelessly behind. More than 85 million voters have been just spectators to the general election.

    Now, policies important to the citizens of ‘flyover’ states are not as highly prioritized as policies important to ‘battleground’ states when it comes to governing, too.

    In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). Support is strong among Republican voters, Democratic voters, and independent voters, as well as every demographic group surveyed in virtually every state surveyed in recent polls in closely divided battleground states: CO – 68%, FL – 78%, IA 75%, MI – 73%, MO – 70%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM– 76%, NC – 74%, OH – 70%, PA – 78%, VA – 74%, and WI – 71%; in smaller states (3 to 5 electoral votes): AK – 70%, DC – 76%, DE – 75%, ID – 77%, ME – 77%, MT – 72%, NE 74%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM – 76%, OK – 81%, RI – 74%, SD – 71%, UT – 70%, VT – 75%, WV – 81%, and WY – 69%; in Southern and border states: AR – 80%,, KY- 80%, MS – 77%, MO – 70%, NC – 74%, OK – 81%, SC – 71%, TN – 83%, VA – 74%, and WV – 81%; and in other states polled: CA – 70%, CT – 74%, MA – 73%, MN – 75%, NY – 79%, OR – 76%, and WA – 77%. Americans believe that the candidate who receives the most votes should get elected.

    The bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers, in 21 small, medium-small, medium, and large states, including one house in AR, CT, DE, DC, ME, MI, NV, NM, NY, NC, and OR, and both houses in CA, CO, HI, IL, NJ, MD, MA, RI, VT, and WA. The bill has been enacted by DC (3), HI (4), IL (19), NJ (14), MD (11), MA (10), CA (55), VT (3), and WA (13). These 9 jurisdictions possess 132 electoral votes — 49% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.

    http://www.NationalPopularVote.com

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