Friday, August 17, 2007

Californians! The Presidential Election Reform Act is a right-wing power grab.

Eli over at Firedoglake warns us:
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.

So, here is the petition:
Pledge To Oppose The Right-Wing Power Grab

We, the undersigned, pledge to oppose the initiative that has been filed with the California attorney general known as The Presidential Election Reform Act.

The measure, if passed, would reduce California's voice in electing the president of the United States by moving California from a winner take all electoral system to one that allots electoral votes proportionally by congressional district. This would mean that California would award the Democratic presidential candidate around 35 electoral votes instead of the normal 55, essentially giving the Republican the equivalent of Ohio on a silver platter. While reform of the electoral system is certainly needed, it must be a national process, not an effort by a few right-wing activists to slice California into a partisan pie.

Like the Supreme Court stopping the recount in 2000, Tom Delay's 2003 Texas redistricting and the recall here in California, this initiative is merely the latest in a long line of right-wing power grabs that put Republicans' own electoral ambitions ahead of the will of the people. California Republicans know they're on the wrong side of the issues AND the people so they need to change the rules in the middle of the game in order to win and that's exactly what they're doing with this initiative.

Therefore, we hereby pledge to vote NO on this right-wing power grab.

Update: Todd Beeton of MyDD:
As I wrote on Tuesday, this latest scheme comes in the form of a ballot initiative submitted to the CA Attorney General's office by a prominent right-wing elections lawyer for the June 2008 ballot called The Presidential Election Reform Act. The measure would, as Erik Love writes at calitics:
reduce California's voice in electing the president of the United States by moving California from a winner take all electoral system to one that allots electoral votes proportionally by congressional district...the net result would be that the Republican candidate could win as many as 20 of California's 55 electoral votes or the equivalent of Ohio.

The good folks fighting this are calling themselves Californians For Fair Election Reform and they're up on the web HERE. Also, my friends at the Courage Campaign have a petition up asking people to pledge to oppose the initiative if it makes it onto the ballot (sign it HERE.)

In addition, yesterday, Senator Boxer had a piece up on Huffington Post explaining why this is nothing but a blatant power grab on the part of the increasingly desperate California right-wing.


Anonymous said...

I don't really know how the initiative process works out here and some of them have been good and some have been not so good, I know.

Is there a process of proposed amendment and can we at least proffer an alternative language that would correct for the obvious partisan advantage being sought without being anti-democratic.

It would be a good thing if states could agree to synchronize their adoption of this reform so that it doesn't help one or the other party, as if Texas split its electoral votes it would probably balance California doing so.

ellroon said...

The whole election process has become so overblown and bloated, I have no clear answers, whig. You are striving to be fair where the people in the state government are trying to keep or grab power.

I don't think fairness will win in this present climate, so we just need to work on blocking power grabs...

Anonymous said...

I suspect the 2008 presidential election will not be a close one at any rate. But Florida and some other states may still be using Premier (formerly Diebold) voting equipment and other hackable DRM machines.

Sorry to seemingly change the subject, but creating a fair electoral system is to me a sine qua non of fixing our democracy.

I want to be treated fairly, so I think it's good to be fair. I'm not favoring their proposal as submitted, I would object on the grounds I stated, that it should be done in coordination with other states, and amended if possible or rejected at this time.

ellroon said...

I hear you about fairness, but can you imagine trying to unite all 50 states to address this? Talk about divisiveness....

Anonymous said...

Eventually we might have to come to some kind of convention, you know? But you're right that this year it isn't a good idea and not unilaterally.

ellroon said...

It's going to take a lot of years before we recover from the damage Bush and friends have done to our political process and to the leadership in this country.

So getting everybody on the same page might not happen for decades....