Legal challenge on electoral change
Democrats say initiative violates U.S. Constitution
and vow a suit to fight it.

By Kevin Yamamura –
Published 12:00 am PDT Friday, November 2, 2007

California Democratic Party Chairman Art Torres vowed Thursday to challenge a proposed initiative to change how the state’s electoral votes are counted if it qualifies for the ballot.
Torres insisted the initiative would be illegal because the U.S. Constitution gives state legislatures the power to determine their presidential electors. The proposal being circulated by Republican consultants would assign California’s electors on a district-by-district basis rather than award the statewide winner all 55 electoral votes.

“(The Constitution) states very unequivocally in my mind that the state legislatures determine how electoral votes are counted, not the people or an initiative process, which is not even mentioned when the framers wrote the Constitution,” Torres said. “That has never been tested from what I can tell. We plan to test it.”

Democrats have charged that the initiative is a ploy to ensure Republicans obtain 20 or more electoral votes next year in California, a state that no GOP presidential candidate has won since George H.W. Bush in 1988. But Republicans behind the initiative said it would force presidential candidates to visit California more often and give GOP voters here more say in the presidential outcome.

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