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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

May 5, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Electoral College bypass

Disenfranchises voters in smaller states

I appreciated The Times’ editorial “Electoral College bypass deserves voter scrutiny” [Opinion, May 4]. It is beyond my belief that the Legislature and the governor would consider passing such a bill without prior referral to the electorate.

At least the Founding Fathers were a lot smarter than our Legislature and present governor. I oppose having the electorate in California, New York, Illinois, Florida and Texas deciding who is to be president.

I appreciate that the Democrats would love such a change, since they would forever elect the president. Residents of smaller states would not need to vote.

— Bob Holtzclaw, Kirkland

Large county could overrule the U.S.

Our esteemed governor and her Democrat schemers have conspired to change the way we elect our president. Let’s hope they don’t get what they wish for.

They propose that the national popular vote should rule, always followed by the observation that, after all, Al Gore won the popular vote back in 2000. We all remember the ubiquitous red and blue map of the states showing the result of the 2000 presidential election. Some may have seen the more detailed map showing the results by county, but always just red or blue.

When the votes were added up, Al Gore had received half a million more votes than George W. Bush, so the obvious conclusion was drawn by the pundits and shouted out by the Democrats: Gore won the popular vote and should be president.

For whatever reason, nobody took a closer look at the data to see where Gore won and by how much. On its Web site, CNN published the vote count down to the county level — actual votes, not just who won. Tedious though it was, I copied the county vote count into a spread sheet on my home computer. When I examined the data, I found that, indeed, Gore received 540,000 more votes than did Bush. But when I added all the votes, excluding Los Angeles County, Bush received 290,000 more than Gore. In other words, Bush won the popular vote in the rest of the U.S., omitting only Los Angeles County.

How come the half million for Gore? Gore received 830,000 more votes in Los Angeles County than did Bush. One huge county in California accounts for all the claims that Gore won the U.S. popular vote. If the decision for president had been based on the popular vote, one county in California would have overruled the rest of the U.S. Switching to popular vote is a lousy idea.

— James Axtell, Des Moines

Comments | More in Politics, Presidential race, Reform

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