electoral college

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Colorado: Democrats push changes to presidential electors | Associated Press

Following Donald Trump’s 2016 victory over an opponent who won 3 million more votes, Colorado’s Democrat-controlled Legislature is fast-tracking legislation to join other states in picking the president based on the national popular vote. The House State, Veterans, & Military Affairs Committee sent the bill to the full House on a 6-3 party line vote late Tuesday. Republicans fiercely oppose the bill , which has cleared Colorado’s Senate. They argue it subverts an Electoral College that the Founding Fathers created to ensure smaller states don’t get trampled when it comes to choosing the president. Colorado would join 11 states and the District of Columbia in the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. The campaign was launched after Democrat Al Gore lost the 2000 election to Republican George W. Bush despite winning more votes.

Full Article: Colorado Democrats push changes to presidential electors | Myrtle Beach Sun News.

Massachusetts: Judge rejects challenge to winner-take-all election system | Associated Press

A federal judge on Friday dismissed a lawsuit challenging the winner-take-all system Massachusetts uses to assign its Electoral College presidential votes, rejecting the argument that it violates the principle of “one person, one vote.” The case is one of several spearheaded by the onetime lawyer for former Vice President Al Gore that is targeting the winner-take-all system used in 48 states, which critics ultimately hope to get before the U.S. Supreme Court. They argue the practice of assigning all of a state’s Electoral College votes to the winner of a state’s popular vote disenfranchises those who voted for the losing candidate and puts too much weight in the votes of those who live in a few key battleground states. But Chief U.S. District Judge Patti Saris said the system is constitutional because it doesn’t treat any set of voters differently from another.

Full Article: Judge rejects challenge to winner-take-all election system | The Seattle Times.

National: Group Files Lawsuit to Challenge Electoral College | Roll Call

A group is suing two red states and two blue states to change the Electoral College system. Former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld, Harvard Law professor Lawrence Lessig and David Boies, who served as former Vice President Al Gore’s lawyer in Bush v. Gore, make up the group according to the Boston Globe. The group is suing two predominantly Democratic states (California and Massachusetts) and two predominantly Republican states (Texas and South Carolina.) They argue the winner-take-all format of the Electoral College disenfranchises numerous voters and that it violates the principle of “one person, one vote.” Boies said the Electoral College system leads to candidates only campaigning to certain groups of voters and ignoring others.

Full Article: Group Files Lawsuit to Challenge Electoral College.

National: Trump pushes to swap Electoral College for popular vote | Politico

President Donald Trump on Thursday voiced support for doing away with the Electoral College for presidential elections in favor of a popular vote because the latter would be “much easier to win.” The president’s support for a popular-vote presidential election came as an aside during a freewheeling Thursday morning interview with “Fox & Friends,” the Fox News morning show he is known to watch and from which he receives almost unflinchingly positive coverage. Trump made the remark amid a larger point about public figures who publicly support him in turn benefiting from a boost of popularity from Trump supporters.

Full Article: Trump pushes to swap Electoral College for popular vote - POLITICO.

Colorado: A federal judge dismissed the ‘Hamilton Elector’ lawsuit in Colorado. But that’s what they wanted. | The Colorado Independent

A federal judge in Colorado on Tuesday dismissed a case its plaintiffs hope will eventually bring more clarity to how members of the Electoral College should vote in presidential elections. And a dismissal is actually just what the plaintiffs wanted. They expect an appeal could bring their case before the nation’s highest court. At issue is a lawsuit by three members of the 2016 class of Colorado’s Electoral College who argued that Colorado GOP Secretary of State Wayne Williams violated their constitutional rights by forcing them to officially cast their national electoral ballots for the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, in the 2016 presidential election. U.S. District Court Senior Judge Wiley Daniel dismissed the case— and in doing so, helped get the legal question potentially further up the legal chain on an appeal and perhaps, eventually, before the United States Supreme Court, which is what the plaintiffs ultimately want. 

Full Article: A federal judge dismissed the ‘Hamilton Elector’ lawsuit in Colorado. But that’s what they wanted. | The Colorado Independent.

Colorado: Federal judge tosses “faithless” presidential elector lawsuit against Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams | The Denver Post

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit from three Democratic presidential electors against Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams alleging that Williams violated their constitutional rights during the highly contentious 2016 Electoral College vote. The trio contended that Williams acted unlawfully by not allowing them to vote their conscience instead of on behalf of Colorado voters when casting their presidential votes. But U.S. District Court Senior Judge Wiley Y. Daniel rejected that premise, saying they were requesting he “strike down Colorado’s elector statute that codifies the historical understanding and long-standing practice of binding electors to the people’s vote, and to sanction a new system that would render the people’s vote merely advisory.”

Full Article: Federal judge tosses “faithless” presidential elector lawsuit against Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams – The Denver Post.

National: Winner-Take-All Electoral Practice Faces Voter-Rights Challenge | Bloomberg

Civil rights activists are challenging the legality of four states’ winner-take-all method of allocating U.S. presidential electoral college votes, claiming the practice magnifies some votes at the expense of others and violates voters’ constitutional rights. The lawsuits were filed Wednesday in Texas and South Carolina, two states seen as “solidly red,” or Republican, and Massachusetts and California, two states seen as “solidly blue,” or Democratic, according to a statement from the activists’ lawyers. Veteran U.S. Supreme Court litigator David Boies, of Boies Schiller Flexner LLP, and the League of United Latin American Citizens, or LULAC, are spearheading the “non-partisan” challenges.

Full Article: Winner-Take-All Electoral Practice Faces Voter-Rights Challenge - Bloomberg.

Texas: In lawsuit, activists say Texas’ winner-take-all approach to the Electoral College is discriminatory | The Texas Tribune

Saying Texas’ current practice is discriminatory, a group of Hispanic activists and lawyers has sued the state in hopes of blocking it from awarding all of its Electoral College votes to one candidate during presidential elections. The lawsuit filed in federal court Wednesday calls on Texas to treat voters “in an equal manner” by abolishing that “winner-take-all” approach, which all but two states use. The suit, filed by the League of United Latin American Citizens and a coalition of Texas lawyers, says that approach violates the U.S. Constitution and the 1965 Voting Rights Act. It’s just one of many pending voting rights lawsuits arguing that Texas, which regularly votes Republican, has illegally discriminated against voters of color. 

Full Article: In lawsuit, activists say Texas' winner-take-all approach to the Electoral College is discriminatory | The Texas Tribune.

Editorials: Let the People Pick the President | The New York Times

The winners of Tuesday’s elections — Republican or Democrat, for governor, mayor or dogcatcher — all have one thing in common: They received more votes than their opponent. That seems like a pretty fair way to run an electoral race, which is why every election in America uses it — except the most important one of all. Was it just a year ago that more than 136 million Americans cast their ballots for president, choosing Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump by nearly three million votes, only to be thwarted by a 200-year-old constitutional anachronism designed in part to appease slaveholders and ratified when no one but white male landowners could vote? It feels more like, oh, 17 years — the last time, incidentally, that the American people chose one candidate for president and the Electoral College imposed the other.

Full Article: Let the People Pick the President - The New York Times.

Colorado: Secretary of State makes a deal with electoral college members suing him | The Colorado Independent

Colorado’s GOP Secretary of State Wayne Williams and attorneys for three members of the 2016 Electoral College class who are suing him for voter intimidation have reached a deal. They haven’t settled but instead agreed to make concessions on both sides that could grease the wheels to have their case heard by the U.S. Supreme Court more quickly. Under their agreement, the electors will not sue Williams personally and won’t ask for damages and attorney fees beyond a dollar. In exchange, the Secretary of State’s Office will waive any immunity, meaning the case won’t get bogged down in protracted litigation — and could move through the courts more quickly.

Full Article: Colorado Sec. of State makes a deal with electoral college members suing him: ‘We just want an answer to the constitutional question’ | The Colorado Independent.

Editorials: Tyranny of the Minority | Michelle Goldberg/The New York Times

Since Donald Trump’s cataclysmic election, the unthinkable has become ordinary. We’ve grown used to naked profiteering off the presidency, an administration that calls for the firing of private citizens for political dissent and nuclear diplomacy conducted via Twitter taunts. Here, in my debut as a New York Times columnist, I want to discuss a structural problem that both underlies and transcends our current political nightmare: We have entered a period of minority rule. I don’t just mean the fact that Trump became president despite his decisive loss in the popular vote, though that shouldn’t be forgotten. Worse, the majority of voters who disapprove of Trump have little power to force Congress to curb him.

Full Article: Tyranny of the Minority - The New York Times.

Editorials: The Electoral College Is a National Security Threat | Matthew Olsen & Benjamin Haas/Politico

In Federalist No. 68, his pseudonymous essay on “The Mode of Electing the President,” Alexander Hamilton wrote that the Electoral College could shield the United States “from the desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils.” Because of the “transient existence” and dispersed makeup of the electors, he argued, hostile countries would find it too expensive and time-consuming to inject “sinister bias” into the process of choosing a president. At the time, the new American leaders feared meddling from Great Britain, their former colonial master, or perhaps from other powers such as France, and they designed a system to minimize the prospect that Europe’s aging monarchies could seize control of their young democracy. Hamilton and his colleagues never could have envisioned a year like 2016, when an enemy state—Russia—was able to manipulate America’s election process with stunning effectiveness. But it’s clear the national security rationale for the Electoral College is outdated and therefore it should be retired. Simply put, it enables foreign powers to more easily pierce the very shield Hamilton imagined it would be.

Full Article: The Electoral College Is a National Security Threat - POLITICO Magazine.

National: Is the Electoral College Doomed? | Politico

The Electoral College is under fresh assault on the heels of Donald Trump’s victory last November—the second time in five presidential races the popularly elected candidate lost the election—but it’s not due to any groundswell in Congress for a constitutional amendment to adopt a national popular vote. Instead, the most viable campaign to change how Americans choose their leader is being waged at booze-soaked junkets in luxury hotels around the country and even abroad, as an obscure entity called the Institute for Research on Presidential Elections peddles a controversial idea: that state legislatures can put the popular-vote winner in the White House.

Full Article: Is the Electoral College Doomed? - POLITICO Magazine.

Colorado: Attorney General won’t prosecute the Hamilton Elector who voted for Kasich not Clinton | The Colorado Independent

Colorado Republican Attorney General Cynthia Coffman will not prosecute Micheal Baca, a former member of the Electoral College who was stripped of his position when he cast a vote for Ohio Gov. John Kasich instead of Hillary Clinton during a chaotic day in December. Coffman, who has said she is exploring whether there is a path for her to run for governor, says she doesn’t want Baca to use Colorado’s court system as a platform to make more headlines. Colorado GOP Secretary of State Wayne Williams, who asked Coffman to investigate Baca, said he is “disappointed” the AG won’t pursue the case. On Dec. 19, Baca became the first elector in Colorado history not to cast a ballot during a ceremony at the Capitol for the presidential candidate who won the state’s popular vote. Baca was part of a movement known as the Hamilton Electors who believe they have the authority under the U.S. Constitution to vote their conscience as national electors. They hatched a plan to try and thwart Donald Trump from the White House by trying to convince enough electors around the country to vote for a more palatable Republican.

Full Article: Colorado AG won’t prosecute the Hamilton Elector who voted for Kasich not Clinton | The Colorado Independent.

Colorado: “Faithless electors” seek damages in new federal lawsuit | The Denver Post

Two Colorado presidential electors have filed a new federal lawsuit against Secretary of State Wayne Williams, saying that threats he made leading up to last year’s dramatic Electoral College vote violated their constitutional rights. The lawsuit was announced Tuesday by Equal Citizens, an advocacy group, on behalf of two Democratic electors, Polly Baca and Robert Nemanich, who argue that the U.S. Constitution gives presidential electors the right to vote their conscience. That right, they said, was violated when Williams adopted a new policy aimed at compelling them to vote for the winner of the state’s popular vote, Hillary Clinton.

Full Article: Colorado’s “faithless electors” seek damages in new federal lawsuit – The Denver Post.

India: How India picks its President, explained | Hindustan Times

If you haven’t decided whom to vote for in the upcoming election for the next President of India – to be held on July 17 – don’t worry. Unless you’re an MP or an MLA, you don’t get to vote. Unlike most of India’s elected representatives, who must battle it out for citizens’ votes, the President of India is instead chosen by an electoral college. The electoral college comprises the elected members of the Parliament (MPs) and state legislative assemblies (MLAs). Nominated members are, like the rest of us, unable to vote. There are 4,986 electors in the electoral college: 4,120 MLAs and 776 MPs. In normal elections, everyone’s vote is counted equally. In a presidential election, however, electors’ votes are worth more or less depending upon their job titles. In general, MPs’ votes are worth more than MLAs’, and MLAs from bigger states count more than those from smaller ones. The total value adds to10,98,903.

Full Article: How India picks its President, visually explained | Hindustan Times.

Colorado: Remember the faithless electors? Colorado secretary of state wants to bolster rules banning them | Denver Post

Nearly six months after the Colorado statehouse became the unlikely stage for a dramatic attempt to deny Donald Trump the presidency, Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams is looking to prevent a repeat performance of last year’s Electoral College theatrics. A proposed policy change would require Colorado presidential electors to take an oath swearing to back the winner of the state’s popular vote or be replaced by someone who will. The rule parallels an emergency protocol adopted in December that was aimed at defusing a planned Electoral College revolt led in part by Colorado’s Democratic electors.

Full Article: Faithless electors: Secretary of state Wayne Williams wants better rules.

Colorado: Secretary of State on 2016 Electoral College vote: ‘They’re investigating’ | The Colorado Independent

“They’re investigating.” That’s what Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams said this week about the state attorney general’s office and a probe into what happened during Colorado’s Electoral College vote last year— four months after it took place. On Dec. 19, 2016, during a traditional ceremony where the state’s nine national electors cast their official votes for president, one of them, Micheal Baca, did not cast his for Colorado’s popular vote-getter Hillary Clinton, and was stripped of his duties and replaced.

Full Article: Colorado secretary of state on 2016 Electoral College vote: ‘They’re investigating’ | The Colorado Independent.

Nebraska: Bill to make Nebraska’s Electoral College votes winner-take-all is headed to Legislature floor | Omaha World-Herald

Nebraska lawmakers may soon debate a familiar effort to return the state to a winner-take-all system for awarding presidential electors. The Legislature’s Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee voted Tuesday to advance Legislative Bill 25 to the floor. State Sen. John Murante of Gretna, the bill’s sponsor, said he will attempt to attach the proposal to another bill so it can still be debated in the waning weeks of the legislative session. Republican members of the officially nonpartisan Legislature have tried repeatedly to end Nebraska’s system of splitting its three Electoral College votes based upon the winner in each congressional district. Votes on the issue have largely fallen along party lines, with primarily Democrats voting against.

Full Article: Bill to make Nebraska's Electoral College votes winner-take-all is headed to Legislature floor | Legislature | omaha.com.

National: Lessons from 2016: Try same-day voter registration, rethink Electoral College, report says | Philadelphia Inquirer

States with the highest voter turnout in 2016 offered same-day registration or were targeted battlegrounds in the tight presidential election, according to an analysis released Thursday by Nonprofit VOTE and the U.S. Elections Project. The six highest-ranking states have rules that allow eligible voters to register at the polls or update their information there before casting a ballot. In order, they were: Minnesota (74.8 percent), Maine (72.8 percent), New Hampshire (72.5 percent), Colorado (72.1 percent), Wisconsin (70.5 percent), and Iowa (69 percent). All but Minnesota, the leader for the second presidential election in a row, also were targeted by the presidential candidates. This was the first report on 2016 turnout to be based on certified election returns. 

Full Article: Lessons from 2016: Try same-day voter registration, rethink Electoral College, report says.