This Week’s Mtg, Part II: Fixing Our Election Systems

Do our political problems stem in large part from the elections themselves?  In my Part I post, below, I listed many of the major ideas for reforming our electoral system.  On Thursday night I’ll list some of them again, but highlight only a few.  Since Constitutional amendments are non-starters, I’ll discuss only one in any detail, mainly in order to illustrate a point about the perils inherent in amending the Constitution in piecemeal fashion.  The other reforms I will describe at some length could be done at the state-level but new national law(s) would be preferable and harder to overturn.  I’m looking forward to hearing your preferences and priorities.


  1. A backdoor way to make us more resemble a parliamentary system: Making presidents serve a single, six-year term, the election of which coincides with ALL senatorial elections and all House elections.  The point is to elect our entire national government at one time..

Federal –

  1. A law to make state voting procedures more uniform and voting easier.  Includes a national voter registration database.
  2. A law to establish a rotating order for state presidential primary elections.  (Rather than states competing to be the earliest primary).


  1. A 50-state compact to have each state award all of its electoral votes to the presidential
    candidate that wins the national popular vote (NPV).  This gets around the Constitution’s Electoral College.
  2. Non-partisan redistricting commissions, like we just created in CA.
  3. Make it easier to vote!  Examples: Increasing resources for elections, more absentee voting, ending ex-felon disenfranchisement.  [UPDATE:  Jery Brown just signed a law to allow Californians to register to vote on-line!  Hey, we pay taxes and bills on-line.  Why not register to vote that way?]
  4. Reduce the number of state elected offices, especially judges.  Seriously.  I’ll explain.
  5. Fix CA’s broken initiative processes.

These are just my preferences.  the purpose of the meeting is to talk avbout all of yours.



  • Stunning article on the GOP’s “War On Voting,” to suppress Democratic votes.  Nothing like this has been seen in a hundred years.
  • Our political system is NOT REALLY broken – please read!

One response

  1. 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 National Popular Vote bill is a state-based approach. It preserves the constitutionally mandated Electoral College and state control of elections. It changes the way electoral votes are awarded in the Electoral College, instead of the current 48 state-by-state winner-take-all system. It assures that every vote is equal and that every voter will matter in every state in every presidential election, as in virtually every other election in the country.

    Under National Popular Vote, every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in every presidential election. Every vote would be included in the national count. The candidate with the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC would get the 270+ electoral votes from the enacting states. That majority of electoral votes guarantees the candidate with the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC wins the presidency.

    National Popular Vote would give a voice to the minority party voters in each state and district (in ME and NE). Now their votes are counted only for the candidate they did not vote for. Now they don’t matter to their candidate.

    With National Popular Vote, elections wouldn’t be about winning states or districts (in ME and NE). No more distorting and divisive red and blue state maps. Every vote, everywhere would be counted equally for and directly assist the candidate for whom it was cast.

    Candidates would need to care about voters across the nation, not just undecided voters in the current handful of swing states and less than 60 districts. The political reality would be that when every vote is equal, the campaign must be run in every part of the country.

    The bill uses the exclusive power given to each state by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution to change how they award their electoral votes for president. Historically, virtually all of the major changes in the method of electing the President, including ending the requirement that only men who owned substantial property could vote and 48 current state-by-state winner-take-all laws, have come about by state legislative action.

    In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). Support for a national popular vote is strong among Republican voters, Democratic voters, and independent voters, as well as every demographic group surveyed in virtually every state surveyed in recent polls in closely divided Battleground states: CO – 68%, FL – 78%, IA 75%, MI – 73%, MO – 70%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM– 76%, NC – 74%, OH – 70%, PA – 78%, VA – 74%, and WI – 71%; in Small states (3 to 5 electoral votes): AK – 70%, DC – 76%, DE – 75%, ID – 77%, ME – 77%, MT – 72%, NE 74%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM – 76%, OK – 81%, RI – 74%, SD – 71%, UT – 70%, VT – 75%, WV – 81%, and WY – 69%; in Southern and Border states: AR – 80%,, KY- 80%, MS – 77%, MO – 70%, NC – 74%, OK – 81%, SC – 71%, TN – 83%, VA – 74%, and WV – 81%; and in other states polled: CA – 70%, CT – 74%, MA – 73%, MN – 75%, NY – 79%, OR – 76%, and WA – 77%. Americans believe that the candidate who receives the most votes should win.

    The bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers, in 21 small, medium-small, medium, and large states, including one house in AR, CT, DE, DC, ME, MI, NV, NM, NY, NC, and OR, and both houses in CA, CO, HI, IL, NJ, MD, MA, RI, VT, and WA. The bill has been enacted by DC (3), HI (4), IL (19), NJ (14), MD (11), MA (10), CA (55), VT (3), and WA (13). These 9 jurisdictions possess 132 electoral votes — 49% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.

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