Statement by FairVote Executive Director Rob Riche on Gov. Schwarzenegger's Veto of the National Popular Vote Plan

October 2, 2006

FairVote regrets that Governor Schwarzenegger has chosen to return Assembly Bill 2948 without his signature. But we and other advocates of the National Popular Vote plan are encouraged by the bill's passage by both houses of the California legislature, which comes at a time when the campaign for a National Popular Vote for president has barely begun, and we urge the Governor to sign it the next time it reaches his desk.

I am glad that Governor Schwarzenegger recognizes that, in his words, "this bill honors the will of the majority of people voting for the office of President of the United States across the country." But I am puzzled by his stated view that it somehow "disregards the will of a majority of Californians." It does not.

As poll after poll has shown, the will of a majority of Californians - and the will of a majority of Americans - is that the President of the United States should be chosen by the people of the United States, and that the vote of every American citizen should have equal weight regardless of race, religion, political preference, or place of residence. These elementary principles of democracy­which are honored in all our country's elections at the state and local level­are what Assembly Bill 2948, along with similar bills in other states, would honor at the national level.

Governor Schwarzenegger also recognizes that the voters of California - like the voters of the vast majority of states, large, medium-sized, and small - have become irrelevant to presidential campaigns. I hope that on reflection he will realize that there is only one way to solve this problem, which increasingly threatens the health and legitimacy of our democracy: to make it worthwhile for candidates to campaign for every vote in every state­not just "swing votes" in a handful of "battlegrounds."

Gov. Schwarzenegger's Veto Message

To the Members of the California State Assembly:

I am returning Assembly Bill 2948 without my signature.

I believe strongly in democracy and in honoring the will of the people. While this bill honors the will of the majority of people voting for the office of President of the United States across the country, it disregards the will of a majority of Californians.

I appreciate the intent of this measure to make California more relevant in the presidential campaign, but I cannot support doing it by giving all our electoral votes to the candidate that a majority of Californians did not support.

This is counter to the tradition of our great nation which honor states rights and the unique pride and identity of each state.


Arnold Schwarzenegger

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