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Green Party member’s civil action against Electoral College Mal-Apportionment goes to court

Asa Gordon

Asa Gordon

Update 1/13/2010: In what could perhaps be movement in the case, or response to publicity, the court has canceled oral arguments set for January, and decided to rule on documents only.

Green Party calls Asa Gordon’s action a demand for fair elections, voters’ rights, and racial justice

A major voting rights civil action filed by Green Party leader Asa Gordon is scheduled for oral argument in the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia (No. 09-5142) on Thursday, January 14, 2010. [This date was canceled.]

The civil action seeks enforcement of the US Constitution’s ‘Mal-Apportionment Penalty’ (14th Amendment, Section 2), which mandates a reduction of a state’s presidential electors and congressional representatives (“the basis of representation therein shall be reduced”) if “the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States… is denied… or in any way abridged.”

Cynthia McKinney, the Green Party’s 2008 nominee for President of the United States said:

Asa Gordon’s civil action is a demand for fair elections, for the right of every voter to have his or her vote counted in a national election, and for racial justice 

The civil action, Gordon v. Biden (formerly Gordon v. Cheney), addresses the antidemocratic mal-apportionment of Electoral College votes, voter dilution by race and/or party affiliation with the popular vote misrepresented by the winner-take-all system of allocating electoral votes.  Documents, links, and other materials related to the action are available online (http://www.electors.us).

Asa Gordon, chair of the DC Statehood Green Party’s Electoral College Task Force and executive director of the Douglass Institute of Government, filed his civil action to protect the voting rights of presidential electors and the voters they represent in the US District Court (1:08-cv-01294) on July 28, 2008.  His reply brief (http://mapxiv2usc6.free0host.com/APPELLANT%27S%20REPLY%20BRIEF_map.pdf) was filed with the court on November 6 and final brief submitted on November 27 (http://mapxiv2usc6.free0host.com/APPELLANT%27S%20FINAL%20BRIEF.pdf).

Mr. Gordon said:

My final brief provides a legal and historical overview of the Mal-Apportionment Penalty civil action, with a comprehensive context for the court and for anyone reading it.  It asserts that the true measure of a democracy is not in counting how many votes are cast, but in how many of those votes that are cast truly count.

Gordon v. Biden pleas for a declaratory judgment by the US court for a proportional allocation of presidential electors that reflects popular vote percentages rather than the winner-take-all rule that has nullified the votes of millions of voters.  It argues that winner-take-all apportionment of electors violates Section 2 of the 14th Amendment.

“If two thirds of the voters in a state vote for a candidate from Party A and one third vote for a candidate from Party B, and the state’s winner-take-all rule gives all of the state’s electors to Party A, then one third of the voters have been disenfranchised.  We’ve witnessed in election after election how some states have used the winner-take-all formula to dilute the votes of Black Americans and other political and ethnic minorities from being counted,” said Sanda Everette, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States.

Greens said that Democratic Party leaders’ refusal to challenge Electoral College malapportionment in 2000 and 2004 blocked Democratic electors from voting in those elections, thus abandoning tens of thousands of their own voters, just as they failed to challenge the election irregularities in Florida and Ohio in 2000 and 2004.  Mr. Gordon has noted that the Democratic Party uses proportional assignment when it counts votes cast in presidential primaries, but has failed to fight for it in the general election.

Mr. Gordon led workshops for Green presidential electors during the Green Party’s 2008 National Convention in Chicago.  The party’s national platform endorses a constitutional amendment abolishing the Electoral College and providing for the direct election of the president by instant runoff voting (http://www.gp.org/platform/2004/democracy.html#309649).

Archival video of an Asa Gordon Electoral College presentation:



Green Party press releases
• “Greens launch effort against Electoral College manipulation of presidential elections” (August 5, 2008) http://www.gp.org/press/pr-national.php?ID=85
• “Greens: Enforce 14th Amendment’s ‘Right to Vote’ Provision” (October 18, 2004) http://www.gp.org/press/pr_10_18_04.html

4 Responses

  1. The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections.

    The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes–that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). When the bill comes into effect, all the electoral votes from those states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    The Constitution gives every state the power to allocate its electoral votes for president, as well as to change state law on how those votes are awarded.

    The bill is currently endorsed by over 1,659 state legislators (in 48 states) who have sponsored and/or cast recorded votes in favor of the bill.

    The National Popular Vote bill has passed 29 state legislative chambers, in 19 small, medium-small, medium, and large states, including one house in Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Oregon, and both houses in California, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington. The bill has been enacted by Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, and Washington. These five states possess 61 electoral votes — 23% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.

    See http://www.NationalPopularVote.com

  2. The Asian American Action Fund, Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action, NAACP, National Latino Congreso, and National Black Caucus of State Legislators endorse a national popular vote for president.

    The influence of minority voters has decreased tremendously as the number of battleground states dwindles. For example, in 1976, 73% of blacks lived in battleground states. In 2004, that proportion fell to a mere 17%.

    Battleground states are the only states that matter in presidential elections. Campaigns are tailored to address the issues that matter to voters in these states.

    Safe red and blue states are considered a waste of time, money and energy to candidates. These “spectator” states receive no campaign attention, visits or ads. Their concerns are utterly ignored.

  3. 1/13/2010: Note that the oral arguments for January have been canceled. Asa Gordon sent a note around to supporters saying that the court will rule on documents only. Thanks for everyone’s interest and support. You should really check out Asa’s electoral website. Interesting stuff.

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