Electoral College gives Hawaii clout
Democrats in the Legislature are pushing a bill that could lead to a national popular vote to decide presidential elections.
As Hawaii Democrats prepare to assert their role in the selection of their party's presidential nominee, Democrats in the Legislature are pushing a proposal to diminish the muscle of Hawaii voters in November. Gov. Linda Lingle vetoed a similar measure last year and should do so again if Hawaii lawmakers continue to fall for the spin of disgruntled Californians.
Bills moving forward in both chambers are aimed at undermining the Electoral College, established by the Founders to give small states like Hawaii a weighted role in presidential elections. As a result, each of Hawaii's four electoral votes in the 2004 election represented about 110,000 votes cast at the ballot box, while each of California's 55 electoral votes represented about 205,000 votes.
The measures would deliver Hawaii's four electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote, once enough states to form a majority in the Electoral College agree to the scheme. The only states that have approved it so far are Maryland and New Jersey, reliable blue states where Democrats still are fuming about Al Gore being denied the presidency in 2000 although winning the popular vote.
They might not realize that the reverse nearly happened four years later, when President Bush won the popular vote while Sen. John Kerry came within a few votes of winning Ohio, which would have given him a majority in the Electoral College. Under the California scheme, Hawaii's four electoral votes for Kerry then would have gone to Bush.
The Founders knew what they were doing when they gave each state two senators and patterned the Electoral College to reflect the bicameral Congress.
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