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California opts to relinquish electoral votes


California Gov. Jerry Brown Monday signed a bill into law which awards California's 55 electoral votes to the presidential candidate who wins the national popular vote -- meaning a candidate could receive all of the state's votes without having won the support of a majority of the state's voters. Fox News reports on this growing trend among states -- now seven states + D.C. -- which seek to abolish the national electoral college:

The bill would take effect only if the states that hold a majority of the 538 electoral votes approve similar legislation. With California's addition, that total now stands at 132, almost 49 percent of the 270 needed. ...

California Assemblyman Democrat Jerry Hill, who introduced the bill, said the change would make California more relevant in presidential elections by forcing candidates to campaign in the state.

Hill's logic seems backwards -- Why would a candidate spend time in a state whose electoral votes are decided by a collective of other states?  The one thing California has going for it, however, is its population and the proportion of the nation's popular vote the state accounts for.

A popular vote election would bode well for large states like California -- it's the smaller states who rely on their electoral votes to give them a stake in the national election.  After all, without the electoral college, how many presidential candidates would bother to campaign in so-called "flyover" states?

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