Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Riverside Press Enterprise: Governor signs national popular vote bill

Governor signs national popular vote bill

Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Monday that pledged the state's 55 electoral votes to the presidential candidate who wins the national popular vote.

Eight other states and the District of Columbia have signed on to the popular vote compact, which now totals 132 electoral votes. The compact will only take effect if the total reaches 270, the minimum needed to elect a president.

The bill passed the Legislature on a party-line vote — the same day the legislation lost every Republican co-author.

The list included Assemblyman Brian Nestande, R-Palm Desert, who for months had been the measure's top GOP supporter. In March, Nestande said the current system of choosing a president based on whoever wins the most electoral votes "cheats the voters" in states such as California, where presidential candidates rarely tread except to raise money.

"This isn't a Republican or a Democratic issue, it's a California issue," Nestande said in a press release on the same day he joined the measure's author, Assemblyman Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, at a news conference.

"This is a way to make sure California is a relevant state in presidential politics instead of just a fundraising stop."

The bill's contents were virtually the same when it came up for final floor votes July 14.

Throughout the spring, however, some Republican activists had stepped up criticism of the measure. In May, California Republican Party Chairman Tom Del Beccaro wrote that a national popular vote was "wrong for California and even worse for Republicans."

(It would be interesting to hear Del Beccaro and this man square off on the issue.)

Nestande was not immediately available to comment Monday.

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