Plagued by a lack of money, supporters of a statewide initiative drive to change the way California's 55 electoral votes are apportioned, first revealed here by Top of the Ticket in July, are pulling the plug on that effort.This is good news. 19 of the congressional districts in California are represented by Republicans, giving whomever the Republican nominee is a good chance of getting most or all of those. While better than our current winner-take-all system on principle if all 50 states did this, this was clearly a scheme by Republicans to give their candidate a clear advantage because only three states would apportion their votes this way as opposed to all of them. If this measure were to get on the ballot and pass, it would pretty much make it impossible for a Democrat to win.
In an exclusive report to appear on this website late tonight and in Friday's print editions, The Times' Dan Morain reports that the proposal to change the winner-take-all electoral vote allocation to one by congressional district is virtually dead with the resignation of key supporters, internal disputes and a lack of funds.
The reality is hundreds of thousands of signatures must be gathered by the end of November to get the measure on the June 2008 ballot.
While a complete abolition of the electoral college would be preferable, a constitutional amendment would necessary and you will never get enough votes to pass it. Two-thirds of both the House and Senate would have to vote in favor, but there's too many from small states who would see it as disadvantaging them.
So a good alternative proposal is an interstate compact in which states would assign their electoral votes to whomever won the popular vote in the presidential race (once enough states representing 270 electoral votes - the number needed to elect a president - agreed, mind you), ensuring that a 2000-esque situation in which a candidate wins the requisite number of electoral votes to win the election but does not win a majority of votes from the American people couldn't happen again. Currently, only Maryland has passed this into law.
You can read more about the proposal here.