Tues. May 12th in Maryland: Democratizing the Electoral College

Democratizing the Electoral College
with Asa Gordon
, Member of the DC Statehood Green Party, and Director of  Douglass Institute of Government

Includes a discussion of the pro se lawsuit: Gordon vs Cheney/Biden

Tuesday, May 12th, 7pm
Hyattsville Branch Library
6530 Adelphi Rd.
Hyattsville MD 20782
(301) 985-4690

When we vote for the President of the United States, we are actually voting for a slate of our state’s presidential electors that have pledged to cast their votes for a Presidential Candidate. Each state’s presidential electors are equal to the number of representatives it is entitled to in Congress. All but two states, award all of their presidential electors to the party candidate who receives a majority of the votes cast in the state on a “winner take all” basis. This means, unless a vote is for the candidate receiving the most votes within a state, that vote is effectively disregarded as null and void and does not help in a national tally the candidate for whom it was cast. “Winner take All” is not required by the constitution, and in nearly half of the states where it is applied, it is not even based on state law. This lecture will provide a historical context and report on recent developments in a Civil Action to reform and “Democratize the Electoral College”. The Civil Action seeks a Federal court order for proportional allocation of a state’s presidential electors to reflect the popular vote split for presidential candidates in states without a “Winner take all” provision in the state’s election law.
Asa Gordon is the Chair of D.C Statehood Green Party Electoral College Task Force, and is the founder and executive director of the Douglass Institute of Government (DIG). The Civil Action Gordon vs Cheney was filed on July 28th, 2008, to commemorate the Century and Two Score years anniversary of the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. Gordon’s work has been celebrated by officials such as Rep. John Conyers, who in response to a proposed solution brought forward by Gordon on voting rights remedy declared, “This is the most amazing proposition that has ever been brought forward, and if it is accurate, it could change the whole outcome of the voting process in the United States.”
“[T]abulation in the Hall of the House of Representatives of majority polled presidential electors from unbounded southern states ungrounded in either state or federal law, constitutes a discriminatory abridgment of the voting rights of minority polled presidential electors based on race and/or party affiliation in violation of the mal-apportionment penalty clause pursuant to the United States Constitution (Amend. XIV§2) and statutory Code (2U.S.C.§6)”,
Gordon vs Cheney/Biden.” { http://www.electors.us }.

5 Responses

  1. Two-thirds of the states and people have been merely spectators to the presidential elections. Candidates have no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or worry about the voter concerns in states where they are safely ahead or hopelessly behind. The reason for this is the winner-take-all rule enacted by 48 states, under which all of a state’s electoral votes are awarded to the candidate who gets the most votes in each separate state.

  2. 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 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 bill is currently endorsed by 1,659 state legislators — 763 sponsors (in 48 states) and an additional 896 legislators who have cast recorded votes in favor of the bill.

  3. In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). The recent Washington Post, Kaiser Family Foundation, and Harvard University poll shows 72% support for direct nationwide election of the President. This national result is similar to recent polls in closely divided battleground states: Colorado– 68%, Iowa –75%, Michigan– 73%, Missouri– 70%, New Hampshire– 69%, Nevada– 72%, New Mexico– 76%, North Carolina– 74%, Ohio– 70%, Pennsylvania — 78%, Virginia — 74%, and Wisconsin — 71%; in smaller states (3 to 5 electoral votes): Delaware –75%, Maine — 71%, Nebraska — 74%, New Hampshire –69%, Nevada — 72%, New Mexico — 76%, Rhode Island — 74%, and Vermont — 75%; in Southern and border states: Arkansas –80%, Kentucky — 80%, Mississippi –77%, Missouri — 70%, North Carolina — 74%, and Virginia — 74%; and in other states polled: California — 70%, Connecticut — 73% , Massachusetts — 73%, New York — 79%, and Washington — 77%.

  4. The National Popular Vote bill has passed 27 state legislative chambers, including one house in Arkansas, 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

  5. A system in which electoral votes are divided proportionally by state would not accurately reflect the nationwide popular vote and would not make every vote equal.

    Every vote would not be equal under the proportional approach. The proportional approach would perpetuate the inequality of votes among states due to each state’s bonus of two electoral votes. It would penalize states, such as Montana, that have only one U.S. Representative even though it has almost three times more population than other small states with one congressman. It would penalize fast-growing states that do not receive any increase in their number of electoral votes until after the next federal census. It would penalize states with high voter turnout (e.g., Utah, Oregon).

    Moreover, the fractional proportional allocation approach does not assure election of the winner of the nationwide popular vote. In 2000, for example, it would have resulted in the election of the second-place candidate.

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