Thursday, August 30, 2007

Changing rules midstream

Here's a link to the Register's editorial disapproving of a proposed initiative put forward by a Republican lawyer to change the way California allocates it electoral votes, so that the winner in each congressional district gets one electoral vote. The practical effect would be that instead of the winner (likely a Democrat) getting all 55 of California's electoral votes, the Republicans would get 20 electoral votes or so. That would have meant (if things fell the way they did in 2004) thatBush wouldn't have needed Ohio. But it's changing the rules midstream, in a way clearly designed to skew the outcome, and potentially unfair if other states didn't change as well.

Some would argue that it would be fairer if all the states did this (as Maine and Nebraska do now). But it would create interesting temptations. Congressional districts are re-gerrymandered every 10 years, whereas state boundaries aren't likely to be changed.

We also opposed a Democratic proposal to give California's electoral votes to the winner of ther nationwide popular vote -- but only if enough states to total 270 electoral votes did the same. Seems like majority-rule ideology to me. (I prefer self-rule.) But while the Electoral College system seems a bit silly, it isn't broke enough to mess with it drastically.

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