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January 28, 2008

New Jersey recently became the second state to enter a compact that would effectively eliminate the power of the Electoral College to select a president. In December, the New Jersey legislature approved a measure that would deliver the state’s 15 electoral votes for president to the winner of the national popular vote. Two weeks ago, Governor Corzine signed the bill which has now become law.

Maryland (with 10 electoral votes) is the only other state to pass the compact into law, but others have considered it. Governors in California and Hawaii vetoed bills to join the compact. The Colorado Senate approved the proposal, but a House committee rejected it.

Sponsors of these measures argue that the compact would ensure that all states are competitive in presidential elections and would make all votes important. A spokesman for the governor said that New Jersey “has long been on the sidelines of presidential races and this measure would help put the Garden State back into competition during a presidential campaign.”

But consider that this bill now may require electors from New Jersey to vote against their constituents. So who are they representing? Certainly they are not representing the voters of their state.

Because of third parties, our last four presidential elections haven’t had any candidate with a popular vote majority. The Electoral College gives them that majority. It might be worth remembering that Abraham Lincoln won less than 40 percent of the popular vote and relied on the Electoral College majority for his authority.

And with problems of election fraud, we narrow the number of states where a recount can take place. Consider the 2000 Florida recount and multiply that by 50 and you can see the problem.

Even if you are convinced that the Electoral College is a bad idea, you should go about amending the Constitution. But what is happening is a surreptitious way for some states to do so without constitutional support.

©2008 Probe Ministries

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