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California Assembly Passes National Popular Vote Plan

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Legislation to implement the National Popular Vote plan, a multi-state agreement to establish a national popular vote for President, was adopted handily today by the California Assembly - by an initial margin of 17 votes, 42-25. Sponsored by Assemblyman Tom Umberg (D), AB 2948 would enact the "Agreement Among the States to Elect the President by National Popular Vote."

Identical legislation has passed the Colorado state senate, passed a Louisiana committee, been the subject of a hearing in Missouri, won bipartisan support in Illinois and last week was introduced into the New York Assembly by five Republicans - all in just the three months since the proposal was unveiled in February at a Washington, D.C. news conference that included former Members of Congress Birch Bayh (D-IN), John Anderson (R-IL and independent candidate for president) and John Buchanan (R-AL).

"We're pleased to see California legislators acting on the widely-acknowledged fact that presidential elections ignore far too many voters. We need a president of the United States, not the United Swing States," commented National Popular Vote president Barry Fadem. "We look forward to working with Republicans, Democrats and independents in every state in the nation to make this plan a reality, and give all Americans an equal say in presidential elections."

"California legislators were right to support this bill," commented Rob Richie, executive director of FairVote, a nonpartisan reform organization and an ally in the National Popular Vote coalition. "The Constitution assigns the task of improving presidential elections to states. It's clear that Californians now get absolutely zero attention in presidential campaigns unless being asked for a check. Indeed Californians have experienced one of the nation's four largest declines in youth turnout, down fully 18% since 1972 - hardly surprising given the rising voter turnout gap between battleground and spectator states."

States have applied many different rules for allocating electors. Under AB 2948, states would award their presidential electors based on the national popular vote winner rather than on the statewide vote winner. These laws would not take effect anywhere until identical laws had been enacted in enough states to assure that the nationwide popular vote winner will get enough electoral votes to be guaranteed the Presidency.

Co-authors of the book Every Vote Equal: A State-Based Plan For Electing The President By National Popular Vote, include Stanford consulting professor John Koza, FairVote's Rob Richie and National Popular Vote president Barry Fadem. FairVote also produced the groundbreaking report Presidential Election Inequality.


For more information, see www.fairvote.org/presidential and www.nationalpopularvote.com.

FairVote is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that studies the impact of electoral rules and systems on turnout, representation and electoral competition. It can help arrange interviews with National Popular Vote's Barry Fadem and John Koza, National Popular Vote plan backers such as FairVote's Rob Richie, former Congressmen John Anderson and John Buchanan and New Yorker writer Hendrik Hertzberg. For more information, contact Ryan O'Donnell at (301) 270-4616 or ryan@fairvote.org.

 

Ryan O'Donnell is Communications Director for FairVote - The Center for Voting and Democracy, a nonprofit, nonpartisan election reform group in Washington DC.
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