Dems see red on ‘08 ballot

Lots of Democrats say the electoral-college system is unfair. But it’s a different story when California is the only state looking at overhauling its system in time for the presidential election. The modestly named Presidential Election Reform Act, working its way toward the 2008 primary ballot, would grant all but two of California’s electoral votes to the winner of each congressional voting district. The proposal was written by Republican campaign consultant Thomas Hiltachk and has outraged top Democrats who say the initiative would change the hue of the normally blue state to red.

So Democrats have formed their own campaign committee and hope to raise tons of cash to combat the plan. With money coming from longtime Democratic contributors Steve Bing and Tom Steyer, the committee will consist of such big names as Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez, Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, Art Pulaski of the California Labor Federation, and no less than three mayors: Antonio Villaraigosa, Gavin Newsom and Ron Dellums.

“If we want to change the way we elect the president, we should go to a direct national popular vote—where it would be guaranteed that the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in all 50 states will win the presidency,” said senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer in a Californians for Fair Election Reform press release. “This power grab, orchestrated by the Republicans, is another cynical move to keep the presidency in Republican control.”