The Path to a National Popular Vote
By David Sirota
Creators Syndicate, 12/28/07
Right now, many are frustrated about Iowa and New Hampshire voters having such oversized influence in America’s presidential elections. In a few months, as the general election campaign unfolds, we will be similarly frustrated about Ohio and Florida. Who arbitrarily gave this handful of states the disproportionate power to determine our national political path?
When it comes to the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary, the answer is the parties. They decide which states select nominees first. In the general election, the culprit is the Electoral College. Most states award their electoral votes on a winner-take-all basis. By no matter what margin presidential candidates win your state, they get all your state's electoral votes. That means if you don't live in a "battleground" like Florida or Ohio whose statewide vote is perpetually up for grabs, you are ignored.
The nominating system is easily modified. Parties can add early primary and caucus states if they choose. Changing the general election, on the other hand, looks much harder. The Electoral College and its negative consequences seem locked into the Constitution.
But the operative word is "seem."
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