It’s both exciting and scary to think of a Blue state doing this. But I certainly understand the appeal of splitting electoral votes so that campaigns will spend more time in a state to court voters, instead of playing the “map game” of calculating which states you just give up on vs. ones you count in your column.

Two Republican lawmakers are introducing a bill that would award California’s most-in-the-nation electoral votes by congressional districts, a step they say would make it “the leading battleground state for all future elections.”

Democrat John Kerry won California’s 55 electoral votes on Nov. 2 by taking more than 54 percent of the popular vote.

But if legislation to be introduced Monday by Assemblymen John Benoit and Tom Harman had been in effect, Kerry and President Bush would have split the state’s electoral votes because of Bush’s strong showing in the state’s inland areas and a few coastal counties.

Under the bill, a presidential candidate would get one electoral vote for each of the state’s 53 congressional districts in which he or she had the most votes. Two electoral votes would be awarded to the candidate who got the most votes statewide.

Two other states, Maine and Nebraska, use the same type of system. Colorado rejected a ballot measure this year that would have divided its electoral votes based on each candidate’s share of the popular vote.

Benoit and Harman said their bill would make presidential elections more democratic, increase turnout and discourage candidates from ignoring California. This year there was little campaigning in the state by either Bush or Kerry because of Kerry’s big lead in the polls.

“It’s a slap in the face of California voters that our 55 electoral votes, the largest bloc in the country, are given to one candidate without anything more than a token campaign being launched in our state,” Benoit said.

Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding