California Electoral College Iniative Appears Dead

An attempt to change the rules of the electoral college from a winner-take-all format to one where electors are apportioned by votes in individual Congressional districts has apparently died for lack of funds:

Plagued by a lack of money, supporters of a statewide initiative drive to change the way California's 55 electoral votes are apportioned, first revealed here by Top of the Ticket in July, are pulling the plug on that effort.

In an exclusive report to appear on this website late tonight and in Friday's print editions, The Times' Dan Morain reports that the proposal to change the winner-take-all electoral vote allocation to one by congressional district is virtually dead with the resignation of key supporters, internal disputes and a lack of funds. The reality is hundreds of thousands of signatures must be gathered by the end of November to get the measure on the June 2008 ballot.

Although Maine (since 1972) and Nebraska (since 1996) award electoral votes to the popular vote winner in each congressional district, the California initiative ignited a national controversy with Democratic critics charging it was a power grab by Republicans who are regularly shut out of any California electoral votes by the current winner-take-all system.

Democrats have won all the state's 55 electoral votes in the last four presidential elections.
The initiative was being pushed by state Republicans who have been shut out the last 4 presidential elections with the Democratic candidate taking all 55 (1/7 the total needed for election) of the state's electoral votes.

But changing the electoral college rules is very difficult. If California were to do so, it seems likely that such a move would set off a stampede as other states followed suit.

Some observers see the Electoral College as an antiquated holdover from colonial times and that the United States should go to a system where the president is directly elected by the popular vote.

But defenders of the Electoral College point out that there is a very good reason it exists; it prevents regional candidates and single issue candidates from becoming president. In fact, a scenario today that illustrates this would be having a candidate running up huge majorities in a few states like California, New York, the mid-atlantic states, and a few urban centers like Chicago, Philadelphia, and Boston while ignoring rural and smaller states. These defenders point out that the College keeps candidates honest and forces them to address issue vital to all Americans in any campaign.

No doubt this issue will be revisited after next year's election.

An attempt to change the rules of the electoral college from a winner-take-all format to one where electors are apportioned by votes in individual Congressional districts has apparently died for lack of funds:

Plagued by a lack of money, supporters of a statewide initiative drive to change the way California's 55 electoral votes are apportioned, first revealed here by Top of the Ticket in July, are pulling the plug on that effort.

In an exclusive report to appear on this website late tonight and in Friday's print editions, The Times' Dan Morain reports that the proposal to change the winner-take-all electoral vote allocation to one by congressional district is virtually dead with the resignation of key supporters, internal disputes and a lack of funds. The reality is hundreds of thousands of signatures must be gathered by the end of November to get the measure on the June 2008 ballot.

Although Maine (since 1972) and Nebraska (since 1996) award electoral votes to the popular vote winner in each congressional district, the California initiative ignited a national controversy with Democratic critics charging it was a power grab by Republicans who are regularly shut out of any California electoral votes by the current winner-take-all system.

Democrats have won all the state's 55 electoral votes in the last four presidential elections.
The initiative was being pushed by state Republicans who have been shut out the last 4 presidential elections with the Democratic candidate taking all 55 (1/7 the total needed for election) of the state's electoral votes.

But changing the electoral college rules is very difficult. If California were to do so, it seems likely that such a move would set off a stampede as other states followed suit.

Some observers see the Electoral College as an antiquated holdover from colonial times and that the United States should go to a system where the president is directly elected by the popular vote.

But defenders of the Electoral College point out that there is a very good reason it exists; it prevents regional candidates and single issue candidates from becoming president. In fact, a scenario today that illustrates this would be having a candidate running up huge majorities in a few states like California, New York, the mid-atlantic states, and a few urban centers like Chicago, Philadelphia, and Boston while ignoring rural and smaller states. These defenders point out that the College keeps candidates honest and forces them to address issue vital to all Americans in any campaign.

No doubt this issue will be revisited after next year's election.