Thursday, August 31, 2006

More States Should Follow California's Lead

A Vote To Quit the Electoral College
(LA Times) SACRAMENTO — Lawmakers sent Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger a bill Wednesday that would make California the first state to jump aboard a national movement to elect the president by popular vote.

Under the legislation, California would grant its electoral votes to the nominee who gets the most votes nationwide — not the most votes in California. Get enough other states to do the same, backers of the bill say, and soon presidential candidates will have to campaign across the nation, not just in a few key "battleground" states such as Ohio and Michigan that can sway the Electoral College vote.

"Frankly, the current system doesn't work," said Assemblyman Rick Keene (R-Chico), the only Republican to vote for the bill. "Presidential candidates don't bother to visit the largest state in the nation…. California is left out."

If Schwarzenegger signs the bill — AB 2948 by Assemblyman Tom Umberg (D-Anaheim) — California will be the first state to embrace the "national popular vote" movement, though legislation is pending in five other states: New York, Illinois, Missouri, Colorado and Louisiana.

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.

The governor's office said Schwarzenegger has not taken a position on the bill.

Many Republicans spoke against the legislation, arguing that it was an "end run" around the U.S. Constitution and would drive presidential candidates to campaign in big cities and ignore rural areas.

"Those who are running for president," said Assemblyman Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield), "are going to talk to Los Angeles and San Francisco."
Simply put, this is a good idea. We should never have to deal with another situation like the 2000 election where Gore (who lost) received over half a million more votes than Bush (who won). I understand that small states and rural areas are upset by this, but, frankly, so what. The electoral college was designed because America's founding fathers did not have much faith in the intelligence of the American people. They wanted a protective layer between the people and the powerful. This strips away that layer, and guarantess that the person with the most votes wins. It is much more democratic.

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