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New Report: California GOP-Backed Electoral Vote Plan Deeply Flawed'

Released September 13, 2007

September 13, 2007: The California Republican Party at its recent state convention endorsed the Electoral Reform Act, a proposed ballot measure to award most of California’s electoral votes according to the presidential vote in each congressional district. In its new report, “Fuzzy Math: Wrong-Way Reforms for Allocating Electoral College Votes,” FairVote reveals the serious flaws in the proposal if applied either state-by-state or nationally.

“Both leading proponents and opponents of the Electoral Reform Act have made the mistake that the plan would be fair if done in all fifty states,” commented FairVote’s executive director Rob Richie. “In fact it would increase the odds of the presidential winner losing the national popular vote and leave most voters as spectators in our one national election.”

FairVote’s report finds that the Electoral Reform Act fails on the merits of the bill itself and, partisan gamesmanship aside, would be a mistake for either California alone or the country as a whole:

  • No increased influence: Most of California’s 53 districts are safe for one party, both due to gerrymandering and natural partisan imbalance in most parts of the state. Indeed, at most three districts would be competitive. Those few may get a modicum of attention in a deadlocked contest, but the fate of the vast majority of California’s electoral votes will be just as much of a foregone conclusion as it is today, and California will remain disregarded in favor of larger chunks of swing votes, as in Ohio or Florida.
  • Most of America on the sidelines: Rather than a handful of swing states, the California GOP approach applied nationally would decrease the power of large swing states while adding relatively few new swing districts. Most of the nation would remain on the sidelines.
  • Greater likelihood of wrong-way winners: FairVote’s research shows that, whether applied nationally or only in California, the congressional district method increases the odds of a candidate winning the election while losing the National Popular Vote – with the bias consistently for the Republican Party.

FairVote is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to realizing democracy’s fullest potential through practical reform. FairVote’s report, “Fuzzy Math: Wrong-Way Reforms for Allocating Electoral College Votes,” is available at www.fairvote.org/wrongwayreforms.

To seek comment on these issues contact communications director Paul Fidalgo at (301) 270-4616 or e-mail at [email protected].