One of the bills, AB2948 (.pdf) would undercut the electoral college, and thus the very constitution upon which our nation was founded and built. Several Assembly Republicans oppose the legislation.
[AB2948} would ratify an interstate compact under which California's 55 Electoral College members would agree to support the winner of the national popular vote for President regardless of the outcome of the election in California" (San Francisco Examiner, 4/26/06, emphasis added)In other words, it would remove California's individuality in electing a President by submitting all Electors to place their vote for the candidate receiving the largest popular vote. The second bill, AB2949 (.pdf) would require that California hold the first national primary election, in an effort to compete with New Hampshire. The bill suggests that it should be held on January 2nd of the election year
"It's an effort to make California relevant again in presidential elections," Umberg said, clearly unaware of the influence California's 55 Electoral votes have when it comes to Presidential elections, and clearly disregarding the fact that California's interests, as determined by state election results would be superceded by national voting outcomes. This should be obvious, considering the goals of AB2948, so I can only assume that Assemblyman Umberg is being misleading in his statements.
The legislation presented is an attempt to eliminate the means to elect a president which have been used in our country since it's inception. The Electoral College is defined in the Constitution, Article II Section i,
Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress... (emphasis added)What Umberg fails to understand (or chooses to ignore) is the very important role the electoral college plays in regards to balancing powers between states. Much the same way that the Federal Congress is composed of two Houses with very different numbers of members, the Electoral College plays a vital role ensuring that the interests and individuality of each state are not compromised. There was a distinct reason why the framers of our constitution did not call for a popular vote to determine the Presidency in the constitution.
Four other states, Louisiana, Illinois, Missouri, and Colorado, are also in the compact to pass similar legislation.