Calif. ‘stealth’ initiative could grab White House for GOP

Published on People’s Weekly World, by Marilyn Bechtel, Aug. 18, 2007.

Under the guise of “electoral reform,” California Republicans are preparing to launch a deceptively-named ballot initiative which could seriously distort the results of next year’s presidential election.

In mid-July, Thomas W. Hiltachk, acting on behalf of an entity called Californians for Equal Representation, submitted to the state attorney general’s office the so-called Presidential Election Reform Act to eliminate the current system of awarding the state’s 55 electoral votes to the winner of the statewide popular vote. Instead, all but two electoral votes would be awarded based on who wins in each of the state’s 53 congressional districts …

… Schwarzenegger’s office, the California Republican Party and the Republican National Committee all said they have nothing to do with the proposed initiative. “We’ll take a serious look at it once it qualifies for the ballot, said State Republican Party chair Ron Nehring.

Schwarzenegger told the Sacramento Bee, “I haven’t looked at this, but I’m interested to learn more about it.”

Fund-raising was to start earlier this month, to raise up to $500,000 for polling and other preparatory work. Actually gathering the needed 434,000 signatures could cost $2 million.

Currently, only Maine and Nebraska, with nine electoral votes between them, award electoral votes based on congressional districts, though some other states are considering changes. A similar but Democrat-sponsored move in North Carolina, with 15 electoral votes, has reportedly been sidetracked for now. (full text).

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