Saturday, November 08, 2008

Er, Make That 365 Electoral Votes

From today’s Omaha World-Herald:
For the first time ever, a blue circle will appear in Nebraska on national electoral maps.

Democrat Barack Obama won the Omaha-based 2nd Congressional District on Friday, scooping up one of the state’s five electoral votes.

In the process, he made history and shone the spotlight on Nebraska’s unusual electoral college system.

Obama won 8,434 of 15,039 mail-in ballots counted Friday by Douglas County election officials. These early ballots arrived in the election commissioner’s office too late to be included in Tuesday’s election results.

The additional votes gave Obama a 1,260-vote lead over Republican John McCain in unofficial returns. McCain won the popular vote statewide and four electoral votes.
The full story can be found here.

2 comments:

S said...

Unfortunately the congressional district method of awarding electoral votes (currently used in Maine and Nebraska) also does not help make every vote matter. In NC, for example, there are only 4 of the 13 congressional districts that would be close enough to get any attention. A smaller fraction of the county's population lives in competitive congressional districts (about 12%) that in the current battleground states (about 30%). Also, a second-place candidate could still win the White House without winning the national popular vote.

S said...

The major shortcoming of the current system of electing the President is that presidential candidates concentrate their attention on a handful of closely divided "battleground" states. In 2004 two-thirds of the visits and money were focused in just six states; 88% on 9 states, and 99% of the money went to just 16 states. Two-thirds of the states and people were merely spectators to the presidential election. Candidates have no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or worry about the voter concerns in states where they are safely ahead or hopelessly behind. The reason for this is the winner-take-all rule enacted by 48 states, under which all of a state's electoral votes are awarded to the candidate who gets the most votes in each separate state.

Another shortcoming of the current system is that a candidate can win the Presidency without winning the most popular votes nationwide. This has occurred in one of every 14 presidential elections.

In the past six decades, there have been six presidential elections in which a shift of a relatively small number of votes in one or two states would have elected (and, of course, in 2000, did elect) a presidential candidate who lost the popular vote nationwide.


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 1,181 state legislators — 439 sponsors (in 47 states) and an additional 742 legislators who have cast recorded votes in favor of the bill.

The National Popular Vote bill has passed 21 state legislative chambers, including one house in Arkansas, Colorado, Maine, 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.

See http://www.NationalPopularVote.com