Thursday, August 23, 2007

Update on NC and electoral votes

A quick non-Latin America update. Steven Taylor’s post on California’s debate about the Electoral College prompted me to figure out what had happened here in North Carolina, where a similar debate was occurring in the General Assembly, albeit with almost no media attention.

Last month I wrote:

The Senate has passed, and the House soon (maybe even today) will vote on a reform that would grant one electoral vote to the candidate who wins each congressional district (a total of 13) and then the final two votes would be given to the candidate who wins statewide.

Yet no such vote ever occurred. The reason? Howard Dean. From the Winston-Salem Journal:

The proposed changes would have serious implications for the 2008 presidential election - so much so that Howard Dean, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, intervened behind the scenes in North Carolina’s debate last month.

A controversial bill to change the way that the state allots its Electoral College votes had already passed in the N.C. Senate and appeared to be on the verge of passing in the House. That’s when Dean made a phone call to the state chairman of the Democratic Party requesting that North Carolina Democrats postpone the bill until next year.

The rationale seems to be that although the reform would help Democrats in NC, it would help Republicans in CA, and Dean did not want NC to start a trend that would end up hurting the 2008 Democratic candidate. So the reform is shelved until it will no longer affect the 2008 election.


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