April 4, 2011


CALIFORNIA IS one of 48 states that award all of their electoral votes to the candidate who wins a plurality of the vote, even if the margin of victory is a mere 0.1 percent. Nebraska and Maine award electoral votes by the winning candidates in each congressional district. Assembly Bill 459, now making its way through the state legislature would change California's system.

California is a population powerhouse that's home to 1 out of 8 American voters and a political ATM that pumps millions into presidential campaign coffers. But the state's solid-blue status and election rules make it "irrelevant" in the presidential sweepstakes every four years, state Assemblyman Jerry Hill says.

Democratic Assemblyman Hill of San Mateo and Republican Brian Nestande of Palm Desert want to change that. The legislators are part of a growing crowd of bipartisan backers of a nationwide campaign to elect presidents by popular vote.

The drive has some powerhouse supporters, including Tom Golisano, the billionaire philanthropist and founder of payroll processing giant Paychex, who is supporting Hill and Nestande in what he calls a "very focused, very well-financed" effort to correct a process that he argues disenfranchises millions of American voters.

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