California Electoral Vote Split Proposal

We could see a proposal on the California ballot next year that would almost certainly throw the election to the Republicans in 2008. Currently the state awards its 55 electoral votes to whoever wins the state. The proposed initiative would cause the votes to be awarded based on how the candidate won each congressional district. Maine and Nebraska already split their EV’s in this manner.

In effect this creates 55 races, each with one electoral vote up for grabs. Proponents of the measure claim it would force candidates to spend time campaigning in California. I say it would have the opposite effect; candidates would run the electoral calculator to figure out which states they need to spend time in to win the biggest cache of congressional districts. Do you think Bush would have spent any time in CA in the last election if he already knew he was assured to win a handful of electoral votes (possibly as many as Ohio itself has to offer)?

To me this has the same rotten smell of gerrymandering and feels like an undisguised attempt to rig the election before it even happens.

It’s a smart game for the Republicans, but I don’t see it flying. CA is too Democratic to waste any of its electoral votes on a Republican. But there’s not unfair about this, and nothing that would “rig” an election. If you’re a Republican in CA, you might as well not vote for president at all unless the Republican running is from CA.

BTW, a link would be nice.

Truth be told, it ought to be like that everywhere.

(would Gore have won 2000 in such a scenario?)

CNN: Republicans want share of CA electoral votes.

And it looks like I was off by two votes. The statewide winnger gets two whole EV’s and the rest are split up according to the winner of each district.

A bitter pill, offering advantage to the Forces of Darkness, but it has two points: it is more equitable, and it might have the effect of equilizing CA’s power relationship to the other states. So I pretty much have to support it. Damned if I’ll push it.

Proportional electoral votes? That’s skirting dangerously close to democracy. It’s also funny for me because that was my clever idea during my high school senior year of mock Congress…but no one else seemed to understand. I just wish every state would be like that.

Since we’re not going to be getting rid of the EC system anytime soon we may as well work around it. Wasn’t there a state somewhere in New England which recently passed a law making their EVs go to the winner of the national popular vote?

If you’re going to do it, do it everywhere, Georgia as well as California. We’ll see how much support it gets then. Considering that wherever you do it you are going to rob the candidate of the majority party of evs, I can’t see it flying, unless it is marketed deceptively.

Oh wait, a CA proposition. I can guarantee it will be marketed deceptively.

Maryland implemented that, yes, but it will only take effect if/when enough states to represent a majority of the electoral votes pass it. In other words, as it stands now, Maryland’s votes will be awarded the same way every other state’s votes are*: by majority vote within the state.

*- Nebraska and Maine have already been assigning votes by Congressional district, but as yet it has made no difference.

The problem with the Congressional district idea is that it’s stupid. Instead of targeting states that are closely divided, candidates will rely on states to gerrymander their districts as much as possible so that they can win as many votes as possible no matter how few votes they get, if you follow me. We cannot give each district a Presidential vote; the system is simply too corrupted for that.

However, using the national popular vote avoids all of those problems. Stuffing one ballot box cannot get you any more than those few thousand votes, and there’s no way to game the system.

I disagree with this part. If my state runs its election honestly, its votes will be diluted with less than honest votes from other states. With Ohio 2004 behind us, I’d prefer to isolate such contamination rather than combine it with fraud-free votes.

As an outsider, I see too much power going to the most populous states. Equally, I see too many votes flipped on small results (Florida 2000, anyone?). I’m not sure what to do about the second problem, but one state one vote seems mighty fine to me. If you want to adjust for population, you might as well not bother with states.

It’s a bad proposal unless it also addresses the gerrymandering problem. Since California districts are locked up by one or the other party, it just moves the problem of minority votes to a lower level.

I’m still mad at the California Democratic party for blocking redistricting reform.

The thing is that to win Ohio’s votes, you must get a majority of the people to agree with you. If you can stuff the ballot box a little, you get a hugely disproportionate return on your efforts. I think that your state’s honest results will instead dilute the fraud in other places.

But didn’t we, the voters, give it a thumb’s down in Arnold’s special election recently?

This proposal looks “more democratic” at first glance, but really offers no advantages over the current system; its only effect would be to give an advantage to the less popular party in the States that adopt it, which of course is why the GOP is pushing it.

It would simply replace 50 winner-take-all elections, most of which are not competitive enough for candidates to bother seriously campaigning in them, with 435 such elections. Indeed, since State borders are fixed, while Congressional district borders are subject to being re-gerrymandered every few years, I feel certain that the percentage of Americans voting in genuinely competitive elections would actually decline if all States adopted this system. Moreover, it does nothing to address the disproportionate influence that the Electoral College gives to voters who happen to live in sparsely populated States.

I suppose you could argue that you could do away with the geographical districts entirely and just allocate a State’s electoral votes according to the percentage of the total popular vote each party got in that state. This would, I guess, be a small move in the direction of democracy, but would still have the problem that its main effect would be to dilute the electoral influence of the States that were first to adopt it.

The Maryland plan is the right way to go for real reform.

(Incidentally, the Democrats are taking advantage of their rare legislative majority in historically Republican North Carolina to foist this same “reform” on that State; it’s a bad idea there, too, though I must confess to being just a little less upset about it!)

Yes, the voters ultimately killed it, but the Democrats actively campaigned against it.

I’d like to see the states’ kill off “winner take all”, but not by splitting it up by goddam congressional district. Reserve a 5th of the state’s votes to the overall winner, and allocate the rest proportional to the popular vote in the state.

And don’t start with a state whose electoral votes tend to all go to one party or the other, that’s too obviously a ploy by the other party.

Sounds good to me.

I thought only Republicans did things like that. At least, that’s what I keep reading around here. :wink:

Campaigning against something you’re opposed to! The nerve. What has democracy come to anyway?

(I like AHunter3’s suggestion also, much better than the existing one.)

I have to say that while it seems that I’m the only Democrat in Bakersfield, I do think it’s rather unfair how such a chunk of our state is railroaded into their votes effectively not counting. The entire central valley is predominantly Republican, as well as Orange County (if I am remember Poli Sci Electoral Behavior in CA properly), but larger metro areas are taking over the electoral votes.

And because of the above, I do feel that the system needs to be changed in some way. It’s just inexcusable that such a large chunk of the state (which also pumps a TON of money into the state with oil and ag) is effectively being ignored or under (or un) represented. The million dollar question is, of course, what change can be made that will be better than the present system?

Frankly, I think just about anything is better than winner-take-all, but I do believe the best would be a split of the votes by percentages of total votes won (as has been mentioned here). While I don’t think that a district-by-district system is necessarily the best means of representing the people and working with what is really quite the archaic system, I do think that such a change would be better than the present system.

I’ve too heard the argument that switching our electoral vote allocation system would actually lead to California losing a substantial amount of it’s power, since our votes would be split; but I genuinely believe that if a large state would jump on the reform band wagon, national change could be made in a pretty sweeping fashion. As it stands, no other states want to lose their footing, particularly when you have an electoral powerhouse like California utilizing the old system, but I really do think that if a state other than Nebraska or Vermont would give it a try, others would follow suit.

Plus, breaking things down in such a way that things are determined on a more individual basis does nothing but bring democracy closer to the people. I can’t tell you how many folks I encounter around Kern County that don’t vote because, “Who cares? California always goes Democrat either way.” Democrats and Republicans alike say that because it’s true, no matter whether or not you vote, LA and San Fransisco will and what they want is what will determine our electoral votes.