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Back in August, I wrote about legislation that would commit California to apportion its
55 electoral votes based on the national popular vote in presidential
elections. Like 47 other states, California
allocates its electoral votes on a winner-take-all basis.
Similar proposals have been offered in about half the states.
All of the proposals are contingent on approval by a
combination of states representing 270 electoral votes – the total required to
elect a president.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed the California bill, saying a change of that
magnitude ought to be presented to the voters. He encouraged supporters to try
If this was on the ballot in 2010, how would you vote?
Here’s a Reader’s Digest version of the arguments pro and
Under the current system, supporters say, presidential
elections are decided by a small handful of states in which the outcome isn’t
largely predetermined. You know the list: Michigan,
occasionally a few others. Many supporters, of course, also are unhappy that
President Bush was elected with less than a majority in 2000. That has happened
three other times in U.S.
Critics of a popular-vote-based plan say small states would
never see a presidential candidate. They also say the current system requires
candidates to appeal to more than one or two regions of the country, and warn
about the tyranny of the majority – a phrase that originated in Alexis de
Tocqueville’s Democracy in America,
though James Madison wrote about it a half-century earlier in the Federalist
— Jim Sweeney