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Movement seeks to elect U.S. president by popular vote

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Written by
Mike Hasten
mhasten@gannett.com

 

BATON ROUGE — People, not a select group of political party members, should decide who is elected president of the United States.

That’s the contention of a national organization and a group of Louisiana lawmakers pushing legislation to join the National Popular Vote movement.

“It’s the one-man, one-vote system,” says Sen. Joe McPherson, D-Woodworth, who has legislation in the Senate that would declare Louisiana’s intention to switch from the Electoral College system of choosing the president.

But before the change could be made, states that make up a majority of the electoral vote — 270 votes, the same needed to elect a president — would have to pass legislation agreeing to the switch.

McPherson said the current method of choosing the nation’s leader is “antiquated and disenfranchises voters.”

He and others supporting the change say each vote for president should count. A total of people’s votes, not the Electoral College votes, should be amassed and the candidate with the most votes nationwide wins.

The Electoral College is composed of candidates elected by the state’s political parties prior to the primary presidential election. The number of electors per state depends on the number of representatives and senators in Congress. How the votes are cast is determined by which candidate gets the most votes in the state.

Louisiana has two senators and will have six representatives when the next presidential election rolls around. So Louisiana will have eight electoral votes, down one from 2008 because the state lost a congressman through reapportionment. Some states have fewer votes, some have many more.

When a presidential candidate carries the popular vote in a state, it is “winner-take-all” when it comes to the Electoral College vote, McPherson said. One vote more than 50 percent would take all eight of Louisiana’s votes.

A May 2-3 poll of 400 Republican, Democratic and independent voters across Louisiana found that more than 60 percent favored junking the Electoral College and switching to a policy that counts votes nationwide.

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Written by demon53

May 9, 2011 at 3:22 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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