California is getting on board a movement that would consign the Electoral College to the dust bin of history.
Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill on Monday that would give all of the Golden State’s 55 electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote. Under the present national setup, all 55 electoral votes go to whoever wins the popular vote in the state.
Proponents say the new law would help prevent a repeat of the 2000 election, when Al Gore won the popular vote nationwide, but George W. Bush won the electoral vote.
“It’s about vote equality,” Vikram David Amar, associated dean of the University of California Davis School of Law told the San Francisco Chronicle
. “If you don’t have a national popular vote, people in some states have more say than people in other states.”
Under the current system, Amar said, swing states get “all the campaign promises and all the attention, and their votes are effectively worth more.”
State Assemblyman Jerry Hill, who introduced the bill, said the change would force candidates to spend more time campaigning in California, instead of concentrating on swing states.
But critics point out that the law means a candidate could win the popular vote in California and yet see the state’s electoral votes go to a competitor. Gov. Arnold Schwarzengger vetoed versions of the bill twice, saying California’s votes shouldn’t go to someone its people didn’t choose.
The measure can take effect only if the states that hold a majority of the 538 electoral votes approve similar legislation. California is the ninth state to sign on to the campaign, bringing the total of electoral votes to 132, almost 49 percent of the 270 needed.
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