AB 459 is a bill currently before the California legislature that would change the way our state allocates its 55 Electoral College votes for President.
Currently, California has a winner-take-all approach. Whichever candidate wins the popular vote in California essentially wins all 55 of California's Electoral votes. For example, Obama won the popular vote by 24% over McCain so he received all 55 of California's Electoral votes. If Obama had only won by .01% he still would have won all of California's Electoral votes. Either way, public opinion polls showed that Obama would cruise to victory so neither candidate spent any time campaigning in California. This bill would attempt to bring California, which has over 12% of the nations' voters, back into play.
Normally, the only way to change the Electoral College is to amend the Constitution but that requires 2/3rds of a vote in Congress and ratification by 3/4th of the states. This is a tall task. Instead this bill relies on Article I, Section 10 of the Constitution which allows states to make interstate compacts (agreements) and Article II, section I which allows states to decide how it wants to allocate its Electoral votes.
Here is what the bill would do: California would award its 55 Electoral votes to the nation-wide popular vote winner. In other words, whichever candidate wins the most votes across the country would get all of California's Electoral votes. If states with Electoral votes totaling 270 (out of 538 possible) or more decide to join this interstate compact, then it becomes official and the next president of the United States will be elected through popular vote.
If you were a state politician would you vote for this bill? Why? Why not?
Here is an argument against the bill.