Legislative proposal would change winner-take-all method of electoral vote allocation in presidential elections

Leon County
Photo by CD Davidson-Hiers/Florida Phoenix

Florida’s 29 electoral votes are crucial in winning the presidency. Now a state Democrat is proposing to change the current system from winner-take-all to one based on winning congressional districts.

Boca Raton Democratic state Sen. Kevin Rader has filed legislation that would change  how the state’s electoral votes in presidential elections are allocated. In today’s system the candidate who wins the state’s popular vote wins all 29 electoral votes – one of the highest in the nation and a key political prize.

Under Rader’s proposal, Florida’s popular vote wouldn’t be the determining factor. Instead, the candidate who takes the most votes in each of the state’s 27 individual congressional districts would be the winner. Two “at-large” electors would also be designated that would go to whoever wins the popular vote.

Hillary Clinton won the national popular vote in 2016, but lost in the national electoral college to Donald Trump. He was the second Republican to win the electoral college but lose the popular vote in the past five presidential elections.

In Florida, Trump won the popular vote by 1.2 percent over Clinton, taking home all of Florida’s 29 electoral votes. He won 14 of the state’s congressional districts and Clinton won 13. If the Rader proposal were in effect in 2016, Trump would have won the two new at-large delegate votes, but would have racked up just 16 electoral votes, while Clinton would take home 13 electoral votes.

Nebraska and Maine are the only two states that diverge from the traditional winner-take-all method of electoral vote allocation. They also allocate their electoral votes by congressional districts.

 

Mitch Perry
Mitch Perry has spent the past 18 years covering news and politics in the Sunshine State, most recently with FloridaPolitics.com. He worked for five years as the political editor of Creative Loafing in Tampa, and before that he was the assistant news director at WMNF radio, where he served as creator/anchor/producer of the hour-long WMNF Evening News. A San Francisco native, Mitch began his career at KPFA Radio in Berkeley in the 1990's.

2 COMMENTS

  1. In Maine, the closely divided 2nd congressional district received campaign events in 2008 (whereas Maine’s 1st reliably Democratic district was ignored).
    In 2012, the whole state was ignored.
    77% of Maine voters have supported a national popular vote for President
    In 2008, the Maine Senate passed the National Popular Vote bill

    Republican leaders in Maine proposed and passed a constitutional amendment that, if passed at referendum, would require a 2/3rds vote in all future redistricting decisions. Then they changed their minds and wanted to pass a majority-only plan to make redistricting in their favor even easier.

  2. In Nebraska, the 2008 presidential campaigns did not pay the slightest attention to the people of Nebraska’s reliably Republican 1st and 3rd congressional districts because it was a foregone conclusion that McCain would win the most popular votes in both of those districts. The issues relevant to voters of the 2nd district (the Omaha area) mattered, while the (very different) issues relevant to the remaining (mostly rural) 2/3rds of the state were irrelevant.
    In 2012, the whole state was ignored.
    74% of Nebraska voters have supported a national popular vote for President

    After Obama won 1 congressional district in Nebraska in 2008,Nebraska Republicans moved that district to make it more Republican to avoid another GOP loss there, and the leadership committee of the Nebraska Republican Party promptly adopted a resolution requiring all GOP elected officials to favor overturning their district method for awarding electoral votes or lose the party’s support.
    A GOP push to return Nebraska to a winner-take-all system of awarding its electoral college votes for president only barely failed in March 2015 and April 2016.

    The National Popular Vote bill is the way to make every person’s vote equal and matter to their candidate because it guarantees that the candidate who gets the most votes among all 50 states and DC becomes President.

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