Saturday, June 07, 2008

Nelson bill would abolish Electoral College

Michael O'Brien, The Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) introduced a constitutional amendment to abolish the Electoral College on Friday, less than a week after the Democrats settled on how to handle delegates from Florida at their national convention.

“It’s time for Congress to really give Americans the power of one-person, one-vote, instead of the political machinery selecting candidates and electing our president,” Nelson said in a release announcing the amendment.

Nelson had announced he would offer the legislation in an address to his state’s senate in March.
Nelson said his principal argument for making the change is that the Electoral College permits a candidate with fewer votes nationally to win the presidency by capturing narrow victories in big states. In 2000, then-Vice President Al Gore won the popular votes but George W. Bush won the Electoral College.
Nelson cited that election along with this year’s contentious Democratic primary in Florida as reasons for his legislation. He sued the DNC last fall for initially refusing to recognize Florida’s full delegation at the Democratic National Convention.

Democrats on Friday decided to give each of Florida’s delegates a half-vote as a penalty for moving their primary ahead on the calendar without party approval. The move created a mess for the party after Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), whom Nelson supported, won the primary. The result was disputed because candidates had avoided campaigning in the state.In addition to the Electoral College amendment, the bill would establish rotating primaries for presidential nominations, expand voting options and methods and try to improve voter registration and verification.

Legislation to abolish the Electoral College is not entirely foreign to the 110 Congress. Reps. Gene Green (D-Texas) and Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) introduced similar amendments in the House in early 2007.
The second part of the initiative would establish rotating, interregional primaries between March and June during a presidential election year as an alternative to the current primary and caucus system. The third portion would permit early presidential voting nationwide, require voting machines to produce a verifiable paper record, and encourage voting by mail, among other things.
LSB: You go, Bill! The time is now to make this change.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A more promising approach to electoral reform in the U.S. is the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.

The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC). 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 would make every vote politically relevant in a presidential election. It would make every vote equal.

The National Popular Vote bill has been approved by 18 legislative chambers (one house in Colorado, Arkansas, Maine, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and Washington, and two houses in Maryland, Illinois, Hawaii, California, and Vermont). It has been enacted into law in Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, and Maryland. These states have 50 (19%) of the 270 electoral votes needed to bring this legislation into effect.

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