A campaign has been launched to give more people voice and vote by doing away with the electoral college system. In Missouri, both Democrats and Republicans are supporting the idea.
Missouri is one of six battleground states where 2008 Presidential Candidates Barack Obama and John McCain spent two thirds of all campaign visits, even though these six states comprise only one in six Americans. Tom Golisano is the national spokesman for National Popular Vote, and he’s in Missouri to talk to legislators and voters about making a change.
A House Bill has the co-sponsoring support from five Democrats and five Republicans. It’s sponsored by Rep. Lincoln Hough (R-Springfield) and Rep. Sarah Lampe (D-Springfield) but has also garnered the backing of House Speaker Stephen Tilley (R-Perryville).
Golisano says a popular vote system would end the system of battleground states versus flyover states, it would energize voters to cast a ballot, and it would decrease voter fraud. AUDIO: Golisano explains “what the bill does.” [Mp3, 1:58 min.]
He says seven states are already on board with the plan.
Golisano says the electoral college system has failed four our of 55 elections, which aren’t good odds, and says there’s another math problem we haven’t experienced yet, but is bound to happen.
“We have 538 electoral votes, divided by two that’s 269,” he explains. “It comes out even. The opportunity for having a president elected under our current system where it comes out even is quite high, because generally — the midpoint is 269 — the winner might go to 285 and the loser to 253 … that close. And then if it’s a tie, the House of Representatives would pick the President of the United States.” I don’t think that’s how the American Public would want to choose a president.
Golisano says the country has outgrown a system that was created when minorities, women and non-property owners were not allowed to vote.
He says the majority of campaigning takes place battleground states (like Missouri) versus “flyover” states. He says the American voting public feels if they don’t live in battleground states feel as if their vote does not make a difference.
Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Missouri and Colorado — representing barely one in six Americans — accounted for the majority of candidate visits in the 2008 presidential election.
Thirty one legislative chambers have passed the bill, although few of them have been signed into law by state governors.
Golisano admits it’s chances for passage in the Missouri legislature this year are slim, but he says “this is not a sprint, it’s a journey.” The goal is to get it introduced, educate the General Assembly and the public, and work toward passage by the next presidential election.