Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Could Washington State Demand Nationwide Recounts?

Olympia, WA - 2,800 miles outside the Beltway

The Spokesman-Review reports:

Lawmakers clashed today over a plan to award all of Washington's electoral votes to the presidential candidate who wins the nationwide popular vote.

Proponents say it's a way of doing away with the winner-take-all Electoral College system under which someone - such as Al Gore in 2000 - can win more total votes yet still lose the election.


Republicans and one conservative Democrat called it a bad idea, saying it could award Washington's electoral-college votes to a candidate most Washington voters oppose.

"This is the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen in my life," said state Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver.

Opponents also argued that the bill would reduce the likelihood of presidential candidates stopping here to campaign. Instead, they'd likely focus their efforts on a handful of large cities and states, said state Sen. Joe Zarelli, R-Ridgefield. He calculated that a candidate could get enough votes from just the 12 most-populous states to win if the race was decided on popular vote only.

"I think if you want to disenfranchise the voter, then you vote for this bill," he said.

It is interesting that they cite 2000 as a great example of when this would work, but ignore the fact that the reported nationwide popular vote was so close enough to require a recount under many state laws - as well as nationwide lawsuits trying to change the numbers. 50 Floridas. Hundreds or thousands of lawsuits. The Electoral College keeps looking better.

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