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Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Ballot Buddy System

There is much misinformation in Randall Lane's op-ed (A Ballot Buddy System, New York Times, December 15, 2008: A31).

Under current electoral college practices, the purported advantage for small states has vanished. Once large states adopted a "winner take all" system, the electoral college votes of the small states were swamped by the large states.

Mr. Lane fails to point out that his suggested solution, the buddy system, is not a new suggestion. Texas and New York explored the something very similar a few years ago.

Finally, he fails to point to an alternative that has been adopted in several states that does not require a constitutional amendment: commitment by state legislatures to give their electoral votes to the winner of the National Popular Vote. This has been passed into law by four states and is in the process of enactment in many others. This process exploits the fact that the selection of electors is delegated to the states so that when enough states to garner 270 electoral votes pass the law it will come into effect.

As your newspaper has endorsed this procedure, I am surprised that Mr. Lane did not mention it.

Sent to New York Times

1 comment:

mvymvy said...

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 1,246 state legislators — 460 sponsors (in 47 states) and an additional 786 legislators who have cast recorded votes in favor of the bill.

The National Popular Vote bill has passed 22 state legislative chambers, including one house in Arkansas, Colorado, Maine, Michigan, North Carolina, and Washington, and both houses in California, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The bill has been enacted by Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, and Maryland. These four states possess 50 electoral votes — 19% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.