State Would Bypass Electoral College Under House Plan

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky would join with other states in
an effort to bypass the Electoral College and instead pick the
president by popular vote under a plan pending in the Kentucky
Proponents say the plan, which they hope to have in place by the
2008 presidential election, would force candidates to pay more
attention to smaller states such as Kentucky. If the plan were
accepted, Kentucky would agree with other states that its eight
electoral votes would go toward the presidential candidate who won
the most votes nationwide.
"It makes everybody's vote equal in the whole country," said
Richard Beliles, of the watchdog group Common Cause of Kentucky.
"People who are in these states that are considered battlegrounds,
their votes are considered more valuable, and it shouldn't be that
The proposal is pending in the Kentucky House. With two
legislative days remaining before the legislature adjourns, it's
unlikely the bill will win passage this year.
Similar proposals have been introduced in legislatures across
the country, but no state has enacted one, Beliles said.
Rep. Ruth Ann Palumbo, the bill's sponsor, said she intends to
push the idea when the legislature meets again next year. Palumbo,
a Lexington Democrat, said the idea would force presidential
candidates to campaign more in Kentucky.
"It would make every vote equal," Palumbo said. "Now, because
of the Electoral College, all these presidential candidates go to
the battleground states, and states like Kentucky, ... we don't get
the time with the candidates like we would like."
Secretary of State Trey Grayson, the top election official in
Kentucky, had not taken a position on the proposal, spokesman Les
Fugate said. Still the plan "warrants discussion," Fugate said.
"We would urge caution in reviewing the proposal because it
needs to be evident that Kentucky would benefit most from a
national popular vote plan," Fugate said. "Currently, there is
only one state that has picked the presidential winner more times
consecutively than Kentucky, making us an important state in the
Electoral College."
State Sen. Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, said he did not believe
there was much support for changing the presidential electoral
process in Kentucky. Removing the Electoral College from the
process might actually hinder Kentucky's influence, Thayer said.
"I think that the current electoral system ensures that
Kentucky has a voice in presidential elections," Thayer said.
The legislation is House Bill 550.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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