Tuesday, July 31, 2007

California's Electoral Votes

I've written about the electoral college system here, and how it is often very misunderstood.

Proposals to award a state's electoral votes to the national election winner pop up now and then, and are incredibly stupid. They defeat the whole purpose of the electoral college formula to represent BOTH the populace AND the States in the Federal elections, just as Congress has two houses to represent each proportionately. And, if passed, they'd make campaigning in that state irrelevant, as its votes could be had by winning elsewhere!

But idiots who don't think about things imagine Gore would have been President if not for the Electoral "loophole", because Bush didn't win the popular vote, and that somehow the system failed. But Bush won the State vote by carrying more states! And the formula put him over the top.

If one wishes to reform the system, I would support measures that make the populace-representing part more granular, that is, awarding 1 electoral vote per Congressional district won, plus 2 to the overall state winner, instead of all the votes to the state winner. That would make many states now taken for granted by one party or another (and hence ignored by both) much more important, as parts of them would be up for grabs.

Maine and Nebraska already do this.

And now California will consider the measure!

Which is HUGE!!!
LOS ANGELES (AP) - A prominent Republican lawyer wants to put a proposal on the California ballot next year that could shake up the 2008 presidential contest, a change Democrats say would rig the election.

California awards its cache of 55 electoral votes to the statewide winner in presidential elections—the largest single prize in the nation. But under the proposal, the statewide winner would get only two electoral votes.

The rest would be distributed to the winning candidate in each of the state's congressional districts. In effect, that would create 53 races, each with one electoral vote up for grabs.

The left-leaning state has voted Democratic in the last four presidential elections. But the change—if it qualifies for one of two primary ballots next year and is approved by voters—would mean that a Republican would be positioned the following November to snatch 20 or more electoral votes in GOP-leaning districts.

That's a number equal to winning Ohio.
Democratic consultant Chris Lehane called the plan "an effort to rig the system in order to fix the election."

"If this change is made, it will virtually guarantee that a Republican wins the White House in 2008," Lehane said in an e-mail.

Nineteen of the state's 53 congressional districts are represented by Republicans. President Bush carried 22 districts in 2004, while losing the statewide vote by double digits.

Only Maine and Nebraska allocate electoral votes by congressional district.

A draft of the proposed initiative says nixing the winner-take-all system would give presidential candidates "an incentive to campaign in California. ... Many of the geographic areas of the state would be as important to a candidate's chance for victory as many of the smaller states."

If it does qualify, Democrats probably would have to spend millions of dollars to defeat it, which could drain money from other races. And there are expected to be additional ballot proposals on abortion and other social issues that could drive up GOP turnout.
Power to the People, baby!


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