In case you haven’t heard, the Republicans don’t even want to wait until Election Day to steal 20 electoral votes this cycle. The CA GOP’s law firm, cloaked behind the admirable-sounding name Californians for Equal Representation, is sponsoring a ballot initiative called the Presidential Election Reform Act. If passed, it would apportion 53 of CA’s 55 electoral votes based on the ballots in individual congressional districts rather than winner-take-all for the whole state, thus throwing a bonus Ohioful of electoral votes to the Republican candidate without him winning a single additional state.
To be honest, this initiative scares the crap out of me. It’s like Joe Lieberman all over again: The GOP will back it, Republican voters will know it for their own, and low-information Democrats and Independents will be taken in by the semblance of reasonable moderateness. With enough suckers and crazybase Republican turnout, it could very well cobble together a majority of the total vote. Also worth mentioning that since CA decoupled the party primaries from the initiative primary, turnout will be low and GOTV will be decisive.
I’m no fan of the electoral college. Short of doing away with it altogether, some kind of proportional allotment seems like a good idea (although I would rather see it based on total statewide vote totals) – but not unilaterally. If this ballot passed, CA would have roughly 35 Democratic electoral votes, and 20 Republican ones, essentially giving it a net total of 15 when stacked up against all the other, winner-take-all states.
Do Californians really want to go from being the most important state in the presidential election to being roughly as influential as… Georgia?