Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Electoral College and the popular vote revisited

The Boston Globe ran another, and more informative story yesterday on the new bill that follows the National Popular Vote agenda. Stephanie Ebbert wrote a very clear and useful explanation of what the legislation means and how it will work. It was not clear to me earlier that nothing will change in our presidential voting until and unless enough other states join the compact to add enough Electoral College votes to make a majority: 270 votes of the 538 total. At that point, all the states who have joined the compact through passing similar legislation will change how they select their electoral college votes. Under the terms of the U.S. Constitution, each state may choose how to do this. After our governor signs the legislation, which he has said he will do, there will be a total of 73 votes available from the states who have already passed such laws. Several other states have legislation pending, but it seemed optimistic to me when Ms. Ebbert quoted a proponent who thought there might actually be 270 Electoral College vote available in the compact by the next presidential election. Perhaps.

Also in the story, Ebbert covered the points made by the opponents of the legislation. Many opponents assume that proponents are supporting the bills because of the 2000 election of George W. Bush, where he lost the popular vote, but won with the Electoral College votes. The strange thing about this assumption is that the shoe may be on either foot in future elections. An analyst notes that the Electoral College nearly cost Bush the election in 2004, though he clearly won the popular vote. There is no way to tell which party might be favored by this change in elections.

Again and again, the proponents say their goal is to redress imbalances in how voters' power is distributed according to where they live. This is an excellent article and I recommend you link to it and read it.

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