If California awarded electoral votes on a proportional basis but other states did not, our impact on the national election would be diminished.
By Howard Wayne, San Diego
Howard Wayne is a former Assemblymember of the California Legislature, an attorney and an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego.
Keep tabs on the latest California policy and politics news
Re “Abolish the Electoral College or award electors on a proportional basis”; Commentary, Sept. 21, 2020
Jessica Levinson and Michael Genovese have written an excellent critique of the Electoral College. They point out “it vastly reduces the voting power of voters in larger states.” Going to a national popular vote would solve that problem. Their alternative proposal would not solve that problem and could make matters worse.
First, because the same calculation for the number of electoral votes a state receives would not be changed, the system would still reduce the voting power of voters in larger states.
Second, they argue states could award electoral votes on a proportional basis as used by Maine and Nebraska. However, those states do not award electoral votes on a proportional basis, but on who wins each congressional district. Utilizing this system would exacerbate the effects of gerrymandering. While Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, Donald Trump won 230 of 435 congressional districts.
Third, if California awarded electoral votes on a proportional basis, but states like Alabama and Texas did not, our impact on the national election would be diminished as compared to states that utilized winner take all.
Support in-depth reporting that matters
As a nonprofit newsroom, we rely on the generosity of Californians like you to cover the issues that matter. If you value our reporting, support our journalism with a donation.