Office of Assemblyman Jerry Hill – Press Release
Contact: Aurelio Rojas, communication director, 916-747-3199 cell or 916-319-2019 office
Monday, August 8, 2011
California to have more influence in presidential elections
Sacramento – Gov. Jerry Brown today signed legislation by Assemblyman Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) to increase the clout of California voters in presidential elections.
Assembly Bill 459 – the National Popular Vote for President bill – will guarantee the presidential candidate with the most popular votes in all 50 states will be sworn into office.
The bill does not take effect until identical legislation is enacted by states representing a majority of the Electoral College.
Today’s action makes California the eighth state (HI, IL, MA, MD, NJ, VT, WA), along with the District of Columbia, to adopt the proposal. Combined they comprise 132 electoral votes which is 49 percent of the 270 needed.
“This is a great day for Californians,” Hill said. “For too long, presidential candidates have ignored California and our issues while pandering exclusively to the battleground states.”
“They come here to raise money, but spend it talking to voters in Florida or New Hampshire about things that are important to them. A national popular vote will force candidates to actually campaign in California and talk about our issues.”
In both 2004 and 2008, presidential candidates spent 98 percent of their general election visits and campaign resources (television advertising, polling, field operations, etc.) on 16 states.
This has rendered California, and two-thirds of the country, to mere spectators in the election of the President. Political experts are already speculating that a handful of states will decide the 2012 election even though the election is 15 months away.
Hill laments that California, once again, will be on the sidelines.
“Every voter in every state should have a real voice in electing the President,” the assemblyman said. “We are electing the President of the United States, not the president of the swing states. California and our 17 million voters will finally have a role to play in making that decision.“
Four times in the nation’s 56 presidential elections a candidate has won the presidency without winning the most popular votes nationwide (1824, 1876, 1888, 2000). It nearly happened a fifth time in 2004 where a shift of 60,000 votes in Ohio would have elected Senator John Kerry despite President Bush’s nationwide lead of 3 million votes.
California was among the first six states in the country to introduce the legislation in February 2006. That bill and a subsequent bill in 2008 were approved by the Legislature, but vetoed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Office of Assemblymember Jerry Hill