California Thinking About Changing Electoral Vote System

I’ve been hearing a little discussion about moving from the current winner-take-all system to a more proportional award of electoral votes. California Republicans are tired of handing all of California’s electoral votes to Democrats every election.

An early poll revealed that 49% of those asked support the idea (42% opposed). Many observed that this may change as Democrats become aware of the actual results of the change. I don’t think that’ll be a problem for much longer.

The story was carried in the Washington Post yesterday. Writer Karl Vick noted:

Had such a system been in place in 2004, President Bush would have come out of California with 22 electoral votes instead of zero. Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) would have gotten only 33.

I don’t think much for the initiative’s chances. Also, I’m not sure how I feel about mucking around with the electoral college.

 Update: I agree that winner-take-all seems kinda unfair. California’s huge population gives the state such heft at the electoral college, but a significant portion of that population doesn’t see their vote at the VFW (or wherever) translated into electoral votes. That’s uncool, but not unconstitutional.

My reservation arises from election strategy. Californians may think this plan is a good idea because it will force candidates to spend more time and money on their state. Good for California. What if other states follow their lead?

Instead of a “50 state strategy” we’ll see a “535 district strategy.” There will be no more squabbling over swing-states. The fighting will be over swing-districts. Which means every district that’s already a lock for one party or another (and let’s face it, gerrymandered districts are a reality) can be safely ignored.

Also, it brings us one step closer to Al Gore’s wet-dream of vote by popular election.

~ by Gabriel Malor on August 28, 2007.

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