I urge everyone to take a look at Arkansas House Bill 1339.
Why? Because it's part of a misguided national effort to do away with the Electoral College and replace it with a system through which the president is elected (sort of) by popular vote (in a sense). In other words, your state may have passed such nonsense or may be in the midst of doing just that.
So, what's wrong with the bill? Quite simply, it would deny those of us in smaller states like Arkansas the ability to matter on whit in the presidential election. Why would a candidate campaign here when money would be better spent convincing voters in New York or California to vote one way or another? Under the terms of this mess, Arkansas would simply cast all of her votes in the electoral college to the candidate who won a plurality of votes regardless of how we actually voted. If you can convince the larger states to vote for you, why bother with people in more rural areas like Arkansas that would just be carried along with the majority?
In 2008, for example, Arkansas would have cast her votes for Barack Obama in spite of the fact that John McCain carried this state. In 2000, Arkansas would have cast her votes for Al Gore regardless of the fact that George W. Bush whipped him like a dog in this state. Our six little votes in Arkansas would have been enough to put Gore in the White House, by the way.
Oh, and back in 1960, Richard Nixon would have been named president rather than John F. Kennedy under this scheme. Interestingly enough, Democrats seem to have forgotten that the Electoral College has played to their advantage before -- apparently, that was dandy fine, just as it was OK the mafia delivered Chicago to the Kennedy camp. Turnabout, however, is not fair play as far as those folks are concerned.
The Constitutional problems with this bill -- and others like it across the country -- are obvious. It's also obvious that this effort goes back to a bunch of people who are still upset that Al Gore lost his Supreme Court challenge back in 2000 and Bush was named president. Yes, that's right -- it was Gore who ran to the Supreme Court, asked it to essentially decide the election and then threw a fit when things didn't go his way.
Whether the Electoral College is right or wrong, simply rendering votes worthless across the nation is not the solution to fixing it. Want to get rid of the Electoral College? Join an effort to amend the Constitution rather than going through this sneaky crap and seeking to subvert the process through which presidents are elected. It seems amazing that the Arkansas House has chosen to dilute the limited power we have in selecting a president, but that's exactly what's going on here.
Frankly, I like the Electoral College. Why? Because the "winner takes all" provisions of us give those of us in smaller states at least some voice in a system which could easily be dominated in larger, urban areas. Under the Electoral College, a candidate has to have a message compelling enough to carry the majority of electoral votes rather than just a plurality. In other words, that system gives those of us in Arkansas at least some voice in a government that could easily be pushed along by the whims of people in larger states like California, New York and Texas.
Under this bill that the Arkansas House likes, we're looking at something that's just as bad as the Electoral College is supposed to be, really. It's still a "winner take all" system, but the difference is that a plurality of voters across the nation decides who gets all of our votes rather than Arkansas residents.
As well intentioned as the drive to push the popular vote is, I have a major problem with skirting the Constitution and essentially rendering my vote meaningless. This state didn't support Obama and her votes should not have been cast for Obama.
It's no surprise, of course, that the Arkansas House voted for this mess. After all, the Speaker of the House is a subliterate fool who keeps us updated with his shenanigans through Twitter and prattles on like a petulant, 12-year-old girl.
Fortunately, HB 1339 hasn't passed the Arkansas Senate. With any luck, the Senate will realize the folly of putting something into law which is questionable under the U.S. Constitution and could disenfranchise a lot of voters.