How would you feel if you and 99 percent of
OK, you Republicans out there, stop rubbing you hands gleefully at the prospect. What would you say if the state’s voters went 99 percent for McCain, but its electoral votes went for Obama?
Those are far-fetched, but conceivable, scenarios for a future election under a law Gov. Chris Gregoire signed last week.
So is that a good law or a bad law? Depends on who you ask...
Go inside the blog to read more.
If enough other states pass similar laws,
Progressive groups say the change is a great thing, because it means the leader of the nation may some day be elected by the majority of the nation’s voters, not through a system that concentrates most of the campaigning on a few states where the races are close.
Right now, presidential candidates spend the vast majority of
their time after then national conventions in just a handful of “battleground”
states where the Electoral College votes are up for grabs, said John Koza of
California-based National Popular Vote, the organization behind this change.
Because the races weren’t close in 2008,
“Your votes don’t matter,” Koza contends. “A Republican
(presidential) vote in
But David Anderson, a Shaw Island resident who helped give Washington its Top 2 Primary system, thinks it’s such a bad idea he filed for a referendum to repeal it. If he can get 121,000 valid signatures by July 25, voters will decide whether to keep or scrap the plan.
“It’s designed to create a train wreck around the Electoral College,” he said of the law. “It’s like having both our state’s senators always voting with the majority of the Senate.”
Progressive States Now, which supports the change, contends the
law could lead to better voter turnout. It would shift the emphasis away from a
few battleground states to states like
Christian Smith-Socaris, the group’s election reform policy specialist, said turnout goes up when races are close. So if the popular vote for president is close nationally, turnout could go up even in states where the race isn’t close.
The flip side of that could be that when a national election
isn’t close – something on the level of Ronald Reagan’s blowout of Walter
Mondale in 1984 or Lyndon Johnson’s thumping of Barry Goldwater in 1964 –
there’d be a lower turnout. Even if the race is thought to be close in
Seems what’s really behind this change is the ongoing dissatisfaction with the Electoral College. It surfaces every four years, when the presidential election gets Americans thinking about the system the Founding Fathers devised about 230 years ago because, let’s face it, they didn’t really trust the masses to pick the country’s leader.
One way to change that is with a constitutional amendment.
Proposals for that also surface about every four years, but get nowhere. Koza
says the new
That’s possible, but it seems as though the proponents are really using secondary arguments – it’ll boost turnout, it’ll get us more attention from the presidential campaigns – when what they really want is a national plebiscite.
The public seems to agree with the idea of a national
winner-take-all system. Last December, Koza’s group asked 800 folks in
But using that to support the new law seems a bit misleading. What
would folks have said if asked whether they’d support a system that awarded
Because that’s what this new law does.