A measure that would push the Electoral College to the fringes of American politics has been an unlikely beneficiary of this year’s protracted presidential primaries.
Buoyed by a long presidential primary season that focused attention on states that usually are overlooked in the calculus of winning a nomination, states as far-flung as Massachusetts and Hawaii have passed or are considering legislation that would guarantee that the candidate who got the most votes nationwide would win the White House.
If lessons from high school civics classes on how the Electoral College operates had dimmed, the 2000 election brought them back to life as Al Gore won the national popular vote but lost the presidency to George W. Bush in the Electoral College after the Supreme Court settled the dispute over Florida‘s vote count. That’s because almost every state casts its electoral votes based on the winner of the popular vote in that state.
The U.S. Constitution provides that states can choose how they allocate electors. Under the group’s plan, the new method of casting electoral votes would take effect when states with a combined 270 electoral votes—the number necessary to elect a president—join the national popular-vote compact
National Popular Vote was founded by Silicon Valley venture capitalist John Koza. The group says the measure should have bipartisan support, pointing to the near-miss of the 2004 election. Bush was re-elected when he won the popular vote by more than 3 million ballots. But a switch of only 60,000 votes in Ohio would have swung that battleground state to John Kerry, who would have won in the Electoral College.
And Republicans have supported it, including Illinois State Sen. Kirk Dillard (R-Hinsdale), a co-sponsor of the Illinois bill, which Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed in April.
Apart from partisan politics, the Electoral College has supporters. Walter Berns, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, notes that the current system helps small states keep some clout on the national scene.
Still, even some opponents of the Electoral College are skeptical. Burdett Loomis, a political science professor at the University of Kansas, favors amending the Constitution to abolish the Electoral College. Supporters of the National Popular Vote campaign say is that’s too difficult because an it requires approval by two-thirds of Congress and three-quarters of the states.
This is a shorten post from an original article published in the Chicago Tribune. Time for this archaic piece of crap to be eliminated.