California Electoral College Reform Act (2012)

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An Electoral College Reform Act ballot initiative (10-0024) was approved for circulation in California with a circulation deadline of July 5, 2011.[1]

Its sponsors did not submit any signatures to election officials by the deadline.

The Attorney General of California's office gave it a ballot title and summary on February 2, 2011.

The measure would have required 504,760 signatures to qualify for the state's 2012 ballot as an initiated state statute.[2]

If the Electoral College Reform Act had qualified for the ballot and been approved by the state's voters, it would have changed the way California allocates its presidential Electoral College votes. Currently, the presidential candidate who wins the popular vote in the state gets all 55 of California's electoral college votes. The winner-take-all system would be replaced with one that awards 53 of the state’s 55 electoral votes individually to whichever presidential candidate gets the most votes in each congressional district.

The formal letter requesting a title and summary for the proposed initiative was signed by Ted Costa, and was received by the Attorney General of California's office on December 7, 2010. The working title of the proposed amendment was the "Electoral College Reform Act."

Proposed initiative 10-0024 would have amended the California Elections Code.

An initiative with the same objective, the California Presidential Electoral College Reform Initiative, was proposed, but ultimately did not qualify for, the state's June 2008 ballot.

Text of measure

See also: Ballot titles, summaries and fiscal statements for California 2012 ballot propositions

Ballot title:

Presidential Electors. Political Party Nomination and Election by Congressional District. Initiative Statute.

Official summary:

"Requires California to join two other states in selecting electors for president by the plurality vote in each congressional district. Two at-large electors to be selected based on plurality of statewide vote for president. Provides for political party nomination of electors pledged to vote for that party's candidate. Mandates that electors vote for candidate for whom they are pledged. Independent electors to be chosen by independent presidential candidates and also elected by congressional district. Eliminates $10 compensation and 5 cents per mile reimbursement of electors."

Summary of estimated fiscal impact:

See also: Fiscal impact statements for California's 2012 ballot propositions

(This is a summary of the initiative's estimated "fiscal impact on state and local government" prepared by the California Legislative Analyst's Office and the Director of Finance.)

"Reduced state expenses of less than $10,000 every four years."

National implications

In 2008, all 55 of California's electoral college votes went to the Democratic Party's presidential ticket

According to political analyst Dan Morain, "On its face, the populist proposal would play to voters' sense of fairness and desire for competition among candidates. In reality, this initiative would be a Republican power grab with national implications. The change contemplated by Costa and other consultants could push a Republican to victory in a close presidential race."[2]

California has 53 U.S. Congressional districts. 33 are held by the Democratic Party and 20 by the Republican Party, as of the November 2, 2010 elections. The state gets 55 votes in the electoral college, 53 for each congressional seat and 2 for its 2 U.S. Senate seats.

If the Electoral College Reform Act is passed, and if voters in the state's congressional districts cast votes for U.S. President in alignment with their votes for U.S. Congress, then instead of yielding 55 electoral college votes to the country's Democratic candidate for U.S. President, the state could yield nearly two dozen votes for the country's Republican nominee.

Changes to Election Code

The Electoral College Reform Act, if enacted, will amend Sections 6900, 6901, 6903 and 6909 of California's Election Code, and repeal Sections 7100, 7300, 7578 and 7843.

Path to the ballot

See also: California signature requirements

Since it is an initiated state statute, supporters of proposed initiative #10-0024 would have had to gather and submit approximately 504,760 signatures to qualify for the 2012 ballot. They had 150 days to gather these signatures from the time that the Attorney General's office provided an official ballot title and summary on February 2, 2011, or until July 5, 2011.

See also

External links