August 31, 2006Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814
Re: AB 2948
Dear Gov. Schwarzenegger,
I am the executive director of FairVote. We are a non-partisan, non-profit organization that studies elections and advocates reforms based on the ideal that every American citizen deserves an equally meaningful and protected vote. Our chairman is former Member of Congress and presidential candidate John B. Anderson (R-IL). Our board includes Jones Day attorney Clay Mulford (manager of Ross Perot’s 1992 presidential campaign), Laura Liswood (founder of the Council of Women World Leaders and a Goldman Sachs executive), Hendrik Hertzberg (senior editor, New Yorker), Antonio Gonzalez (president of the William C. Velásquez Institute) and former Washington Post columnist William Raspberry. Our California board members include Pete Martineau (active in two leading California seniors groups) and David Wilner (co-founder of Wind River Systems).
I am writing to express FairVote’s strong support for AB 2948, legislation pending your consideration that would have California enter into an interstate compact leading to a national popular election for the president. As you know, other states must follow California’s lead in joining this agreement before the plan can take effect. I expect to see identical bills introduced in all 50 states in the coming year: it is the right policy for our nation, for all states and for the principle of political equality in elections for our nation’s highest office.
California is the poster child for the inequities of the current Electoral College system: our nation’s most populous and renowned state has no direct role in general elections for president -- it would be as if Los Angeles County or Orange County could be completely ignored in California’s elections for governor. Fortunately, our Constitution provides state legislatures and governors with plenary power about how best to allocate their state’s electoral votes to serve the interests of their state and the nation. A national popular vote is the only reform alternative that establishes an absolutely level playing field without partisan bias. Although California cannot establish a national popular vote on its own, by approving AB 2948 it can show the leadership for which it is rightly famous. I believe that your decision to sign AB 2948 will send a strong message that you want California to matter in presidential elections. It is not right for any state to be ignored, but particularly one like California. I hope you will agree that every American’s vote should be equal, no matter where it is cast.