A coalition of former congressmen is launching a campaign to change how Americans select their president by reforming the Electoral College system, saying campaigns for the White House should be reliant on the nationwide popular vote rather than simply the outcome in a handful of swing states.
The bipartisan group plans to announce its proposal Thursday and begin a state-by-state effort to amend the Electoral College so the winner reflects the view of the country instead of an individual state or two with a close vote on Election Day. The plan would seek to eliminate the possibility of a candidate winning the popular vote but losing the election, as happened to former Vice President Al Gore in 2000.
"The time is long past to not play Electoral College roulette every four years," former Sen. Birch Bayh, D-Ind., said in an interview. "It is a throwback to 1887."
The plan, called the Campaign for the National Popular Vote, will be unveiled in Washington by Bayh; former Rep. John Anderson, R-Ill.; and other former members of Congress. The effort begins in Illinois, where legislation has been introduced in the General Assembly, followed by California and other states.
One of the best possible outcomes in 2004 would've been for Bush to win the popular vote and Kerry win the electoral college. It would've been a reversal of the 2000 situation and could've created bipartisan impetus to amend the Constitution. However, as long as Republicans see the electoral college as an institutional advantage, chances of seeing it reformed are slim.
Furthermore, the Electoral College is seen as an advantage to small states, even if most of those small states will never see a presidential candidate. Heck, most states will never see a presidential candidate. And a system that allows the candidate with less votes to become president is a system in desperate need of reform.
I couldn't find a website for the effort. I'll update if someone digs it up.
Update: Here's the website. I signed up for their updates. It should be an interesting campaign to follow over the next couple of years.