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Dissenters in GOP rethink Electoral College


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Washington Times:

A once-sleepy movement that would upend the Electoral College, reverse two centuries of constitutional practice and elect presidents by direct popular vote has quietly picked up momentum in recent days, with Republican Party leaders scrambling to stanch a steady stream of defections by GOP state lawmakers to the plan.

Shawn Steel, a former chairman of the California Republican Party, is so worried by the support building for the so-called “National Popular Vote Compact” that he is organizing an effort to put the Republican National Committee on record against the idea at its August meeting in Tampa, Fla.

“This is a very clever idea that bypasses the orderly process of amending the Constitution,” said Mr. Steel, who is now an RNC member from California. “It’s an extraordinarily radical idea, and we need to get some rollback going.”

But it is Mr. Steel’s home state that could provide the next major boost for the idea, as California lawmakers may be well on their way to throw the state’s 55 electoral votes - the biggest single Election Day prize - into the compact kitty. As governor, Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger twice vetoed the idea, but new Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, has not said what he would do if the bill reaches his desk.

Under the idea introduced in 2006 by Stanford University consulting professor John Koza, states that join the NPV compact pledge to give all of their electoral votes to the presidential candidate who wins the national popular vote - even if a majority of the state’s voters supported another candidate. If a group of states with an accumulated tally of 270 electoral votes - the bare majority - sign on, the practical effect would be that the popular-vote winner instantly becomes the Electoral College winner as well.snip
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